The metaphors are numerous: “Jumping in with both feet,” “Diving right in,” “Taking the plunge” are just a few off the top of my head. Normally I’d be using them to talk about first-time fatherhood but this time you can take them all literally.
Grace is a swimmer.
I can’t tell you how happy I was when she finally decided it was time to let go and rely on her own little arms and legs (and floatation vest) to move around the pool “like a big girl.” For me, it was like watching her first steps when learning to walk.
I can’t tell you how nerve racking it was to see her swallow some water and cough while learning to keep her legs under her and her head above water.
I can’t tell you how proud I was to hear her tell everyone she met for the rest of the day (starting with the Starbucks drive thru barista) that she swam all by herself.
And I can’t tell you how bittersweet it was to add yet another example to the list of things she’ll no longer need me for. The emotional equivalent of a “death by a thousand paper cuts” is a never ending companion to parenting.
But I take great comfort in the fact that over the next few years, we are going to spend some killer times in the pool together. Going to the pool every summer was a huge part of my childhood. I even spent some time on the local swim team. I cannot wait until I get the chance to launch her as high as she can fly, for her to splash down, and then swim back to me to ask me to “Do it again, Daddy!”
Now if I can just convince her that goggles are cool…