I hate feeling helpless, but for the third time in as many days that was the feeling that overwhelmed me as I stood on the pool deck and watched Gavin struggle. It turns out that he HATES swimming lessons. Classes on Monday and Tuesday were pretty awful. Gavin refused to participate in almost every exercise, screamed and cried when it was his turn with the teacher, and sat on the edge shivering during most of his lessons. I have been surprised and confused and totally unable to help him work through his intense emotions. My little fish, the kid who loves to jump into the deep end, dive for rings, and put his head "under the sea," wouldn't put a toe in the water today. That was the end.
So, after creating a spectacle that left onlookers gawking and commenting, Gavin, Lexi, and I spent swimming lesson time in the van, recovering from our disappointment and collecting our wits. And then I walked back in and withdrew Gavin from his class for this session and next. I know it's not the end of the world to drop out of swimming lessons. Kids and their parents do this kind of thing every day. But today it feels huge. Most people don't understand why, and that's okay.
After swimming lessons, we went home. Gavin and I cried for a while. Folding laundry and ironing church pants helped me calm down a little (isn't that weird?). And then we went to the park. Gavin immediately ran to the monkey bars. He always wants to cross them but is never tall enough to reach. At this park, though, he could mount and cross them all on his own! He was thrilled, and he crossed them again and again. As I snapped a few pictures, the nearby parents commented openly about how nervous he made them. I was thrilled at his success. Again, most people don't understand, and that's okay.
I don't know much, and lately, I don't even feel like I know my own kid. But I guess with each passing day--and each harrowing experience--I learn a little bit more, and that's the best I can do.