Monday, 13 February 2012

In at the deep end

Hello, God of school holidays.

God of small children who hope for excitement and trips out and treats and all manner of wonders.

God of weary and uninspired Mums who try to provide excitement and trips out and treats with enthusiasm and tolerance all the while longing for a coffee and a sit down, perhaps a nap.

God of endlessly kind and patient Grandmas who look after and indulge grand-daughters and daughters alike, finding awe-inspiring reserves of energy to allow children to be children and Mums to find precious moments of peace.

What a trio we made this morning. I took my daughters swimming at the local leisure centre and they were very excited. They love swimming. The trouble is that now that Lizzie is so much more proficient at it she no longer wants to go in the learner pool (smaller, shallower, warmer) and wants to go in the big pool (much bigger, deeper, colder). Katy is still most definitely at a stage where she needs to feel the bottom of the pool under her feet and so I can't cater for them both at the same time. We came to an arrangement where we would all go in the big pool together, in the shallow end, and then after a while, Katy would be delivered to Grandma in the changing rooms and proceed to the viewing gallery when dressed, and Elizabeth and I would investigate the deep end. 

Katy was nervous about being in the big pool.
Lizzie was nervous about going to the deep end.
I was nervous about appearing in public in my new swimming costume. 

We did pretty well.  The water was none too warm and so there was much jumping about and playing in the shallow end and Katy overcame her fear to do some wonderful jumps from the side and didn't hesitate about going under the water. Lizzie swam 100m without stopping and did a couple of jumps from the springboard into the deepest part of the pool. She was so nervous that her knees were wobbling and she got down from the board twice but she did it. And when they made to close the diving boards she hurried to do it again.  I was very proud. 

So much to learn from my children. The way that Elizabeth wouldn't be defeated; she had set herself the challenge of jumping in off the board and she was going to do it. We found out that the criteria for being allowed to use the diving boards was the ability to swim two lengths and so she swam three. She knew she'd be out of her depth but she jumped in anyway. 

Katy too. She couldn't go in the little, warm pool and so she came in the big pool and shivered but smiled and danced and jumped. She put her arms round my neck and let me spin her round and she threw back her head and laughed. She was determined to enjoy herself. She tried out some goggles but they weren't on right and they filled up with water but she didn't complain. She held my hand and jumped in from the side even though the water is much further down from the side than it is in the baby pool. 

I know there's a parable to be had about being out of one's depth but trusting nonetheless but I'm a bit too bleary-eyed to see it right now.  Likewise thoughts to be had about making a splash, or not being able to feel the bottom, or going in headfirst, or waving and drowning, or sinking and swimming....I will ponder all this and get back to you. Is that OK?

My two little girls. Growing up, but still little. Quickly out of their depth in a big, grown up swimming pool but loving the excitement of it. 

Me? I did my best to stay up to my neck in water so nobody would see me.

I reckon there's probably a lesson there too. Hmm.

I like taking my girls swimming. I like the hugs that I get when they hang onto me and I like that they enjoy it so much. The coffee afterwards is good too. 

I like school holidays because the mornings are so much more relaxed. There's no desperate rush to be up, teeth-cleaned, dressed, breakfasted and ready to go before a certain time. On the other hand there's no peaceful solitary walk home from the school gates and no quiet in the house when I get home. I find that my patience runs out by mid afternoon. I love my girls very very much but they have so much energy. They're so loud. They never stop moving. I feel as if I have very little energy, love peace and quiet and long to be still. 

But today was a good day. We had fun. Tomorrow I have another outing planned and craft activities for later in the day. I am in bed nice and early so get a run at the day and with your help I might make it through without running out of all the things I need. Energy, patience, self control, sense of humour, love, love love.

Lord, I'm not sure why I'm telling you all this; you know it anyway. You were with us when I was anxiously treading water and waiting for Lizzie to surface at the pool and you were there when I mopped up Katy's spilled drink. You were there when I snapped at them at bedtime and you were there when I went in to their bedrooms a few moments ago and stroked the hair out of their eyes and kissed them with a promise that I would do better tomorrow. 

Help me do better tomorrow.

Thankyou for all that you gave us today. For laughter and swimming pools and bodies that work, even if, in my case, there is a disconcertingly large number on the swimsuit label where the size should be. Thankyou for keeping my girls safe when they both tried something new. Thankyou for challenges and courage and achievement and joy. 

Thankyou for Grandma and moral support and cups of tea and invaluable reassurance and babysitting. 

I am blessed indeed. 

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