Monday, August 3, 2015

Lessons in Parenting {What I Learned at My Daughter's Swim Lessons}

This week and last, I am earning that classic parenting merit badge: take child to swim lessons.

Clare is many things. Among them: adorable, hilarious, too smart for her own good, obsessed with a wide variety of cartoon characters. Natural athlete, however, is not on the list. But for any number of reasons, we decided that a stint of swim lessons before the summer ended was in her best interest.

It has been so good for us all. Each morning, Clare suits up in her purple tank (with tutu, thankyouverymuch), we make our way to the indoor pool and . . . I leave. I drop my baby girl off with her teacher and trust her to someone else for 45 minutes.

Okay. Fine. I go sit with the other moms (and wiggly little brothers) at a table on the other side of the glass enclosing the pool area. And we watch.

Sometimes, I'm so proud of my girl, making slow progress but learning all new things and venturing (quite literally) into untested waters. She's mostly smiling, and we haven't had any tears, so I consider that a win. Other times, though, I want so badly to swoop in -- to correct behavior or to encourage or hold her when she's unsure or upset. 

I'm watching the pains and joys of my baby growing up, and I'm seeing my parenting life flashing, once more, before my eyes. 

I mean, yes, it's only 45 minutes and yes, I can see her the whole time, but even so, I'm learning to let go. I'm learning that her life is not mine. I am experiencing letting go. I know this is merely the first step of many in this process, but it is just that, the first step.

As my kids grow up, go to school, leave the nest, I won't always be there to see every little thing that happens. I won't always be there to fix things. I wouldn't normally label myself "control freak," but when it comes to my kiddos, I'm might be more guilty than I'd like to believe.

I think that all of this seems a lot more real, because I'm staring down the barrel at preschool in a matter of weeks.

Okay. Fine. It will be 2.5 hours two times a week, but . . . that means the college dorm is just around the corner. I know. I know. It goes so fast. The days are long, but the years are short.

Today, I don't have a lesson or a moral or a conclusion. I'm just sharing a bit of my Mama Heart. I know that things will work out, as they do, when you trust God (and the people you're trusting your children's care to). I know that my girl is going to thrive. She's going to fly (even if she can't swim). And I will be there on the other side to celebrate, to fix what I can, to be there no matter what. I know that's what counts. I do.

But man, letting go. It's harder than I ever imagined.

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