Monday, March 21, 2011

Jump on 3

It's Spring Break and we're Spring Breakin' it!

We went to a city pool with friends today. The boys were delighted to see diving boards there; I was a little apprehensive about it. Within moments they lined up for the small diving board. Big Kid got about halfway down the plank, turned to look at me, and froze.

"You can do this!" I shouted from the sidelines.

"I...don't know," he said, looking back at the line behind him nervously.

"The only way off is to jump. Walk to the end, keep your arms down by your side, and say '1...2...3' and jump on 3. It's no biggie."

He hesitated, looking toward the end of the board and back to me. "Potential injuries?" he asked.

"Almost none," I replied, attempting to stifle my laughing. The lifeguard and my friend (Em's mom) were also attempting to contain themselves.

"Just keep your arms and legs pointing down! Jump like a pencil!" Em's mom shouted.

He briskly walked the length of the board, counted to 3....and jumped. He lined up and did it over and over again.

Soon he stood before me, wet and dripping on the hot pavement. "Mom, I want to do the high dive." His eyes were bright and shiny, his cheeks pink, he was excited about this idea.

"Oh. Really?" I remembered the high dive from where Catfish and I took swimming lessons when we were children. It was impossibly high. Em's mom reminded me that it was probably just as high as this one but when you're little, that feels impossibly high. I remember getting to the top and wanting to go down but not wanting to jump. The pressure to do so and the resultant belly flop that was as bad or worse than the humiliation of begging to go back down still stings. I got the hang of it eventually but as an adult it's hard to see the point of putting yourself through that.

"Yes, really," he said with certainty.

"Okay. There's no turning back once you get up there. The lifeguard said that, you have to jump if you go. It will seem high--like, really high. But you can go if you want...but if you don't want, that's cool too." Please don't want, please don't want, please don't want, my heart hoped.

I wanted to tell him not to do this. I didn't want to watch him try to do this.

"I'm doing it."

He turned and climbed the ladder as I analyzed the kids in line behind him; bigger kids, rough-looking kids that might be mean when/if he insisted on coming back down. He got to the top, walked calmly down the plank, and jumped on 3. Successfully and without hesitation. Without even having to analyze potential injuries first. And he was fine. Better than fine.

I am so proud, and so glad that we don't always listen to my heart.


JulieStyles said...

Good for you and your kid. I am the queen of paranoid mommies and it is my constant struggle not to let it show. I love that your kid asked about "potential injuries"-my hero that he thought about it. What a sweetheart. How proud he must feel about being so brave!

Liz said...

What a great story! I have those moments with Bub - where I want to encourage him but am also scared to death for him.

Ashley, you are one of my mom heros! (Or heroines, I guess)

Jennifer said...

Ah, the bittersweetness of motherhood. Encouraging them to grow up when we don't want them to. Sounds like one of those times you want to pull them on your lap and say, "maybe next year." Good for you for letting him go and good for him for doing it.

Renee said...

I love this - totally summarizes that battle we all have within ourselves sometimes. Good for you for letting him go! And good for BK for wanting to try it, and then doing it so well!