They are out of their ever-loving minds. But they are kids. I can’t expect rational thought, right?
I should have expected it last fall when Drew plunged into the pool in November on a 60 degree day, just so he could say he swam in November.
Last week when temps started rising, my husband uncovered our pool. Seeing the sparkling blue waters, the kids couldn’t contain their excitement and begged each day to swim. Finally, on April 28th, I let them.
Now, let me back up. Drew, 9, has been swimming for several years, and Alyssa, 5, learned last year when we first put in the pool. She became quite the swimmer, determined to do everything her brother did — diving for sticks, doing flips. You would have never guessed she couldn’t touch the bottom.
Naturally, I had no problem with her jumping right in after her brother. I was surprised, then, when she came back up, struggling, panicking. Drew swam to her right away and helped her stay up. But each time she tried to swim again, she struggled. Matt and I looked at each other, and I said, “Isn’t swimming like riding a bike?” He nodded, as confused as I was.
Alyssa begged for a life jacket. I let her use a swim noodle but told her she had to overcome her fear to get a life jacket. (Tough mom, I know.)
Having stood my ground all day to no avail, a couple of days later I decided to try another approach. I let her wear her puddle jumper — a floatation device that’s worn around the chest. She wore it often last year but would eventually take it off every time because it was too restricting. I hoped for the same result this year.
Sure enough, I watched her put her head under water with the puddle jumper securely attached. She practiced and swam until the next thing I knew, she asked me to take it off. Shortly after, she jumped in the pool and started swimming underwater like a champ.
Watching her “get her swim back” made me think of times that we may be out of practice in a certain area and temporarily “forget” something we know by heart. It may be as simple as getting back into the habit of going to church. Or spending time with God each day. Or disciplining ourselves in tasks at home. Or eating healthy and exercising. We’ve gotten so out of practice it’s like we forgot. When that happens, how do we get our swim back?
Some might say just jump in the pool. And in many cases, that would be good advice. But what Alyssa taught me is that sometimes we need some help. Maybe we need to ask a friend if we can carpool to church. Or buy a devotional book or Bible study. Or commit to a daily to-do list. Or track our eating and physical activity with an nutrition app or pedometer.
Whatever it is, the purpose isn’t to rely on that thing like a crutch forever. It’s to help us get back to where we can do it on our own.
Is there something in your spiritual life that you’ve gotten away from for a season? Does just “jumping back in” seem overwhelming? Perhaps finding your puddle jumper — for a time — is the best first step to getting back in the pool.