Monday, July 22, 2013

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Facing fears (with arms wide open)

So you know how I posted earlier this month about how Josie learned how to swim? Well, we've got one heck of an update! As it turns out, taking the plunge (both literally and figuratively) unlocked this huge wave of bravery and further determination that has taken her through the confrontation of many more fears over the last couple of weeks.

The biggest fear crossed off the list? The diving board!

At the beginning of the summer, she timidly went off the diving board and had Louie catch her. She wasn't yet swimming and she landed right on top of him. She was nervous, chewing her hair all the way down the board, but she did it! Lou helped her to the side, I exhaled, and we all cheered. Later that night she asked, "Mama, how deep was the diving board water?" When I told her it was 10 feet deep, she did a little thinking then announced, "Okay, I'm not going off of it again until I am 10 feet and 1 inch tall."  It wasn't the height of the board that scared her; it was the depth of the water.  I think that's why she found herself doing THIS a dozen times in a row the week she got totally confident in the water.

(I really love the way she leaps, arms outstretched with a big YAAAH!, like "I got this!" Clearly, her power animal is the flying squirrel.)

Then, today after her final Level 2 swim lesson, THIS happened! She decided to go for it - without asking the lifeguard/instructor to catch her! Without Daddy in the pool. Without me even in a swimsuit!

After the second jump straight out (which is sadly cut off because my iphone is full, since ya know I tend to take a photo or two) she came running over to me for a victory hug!  We talked a lot about feeling proud and feeling brave.  It was one of those conversations that left me feeling unbelievable grateful to be a mother - to have been given the gift of shaping a human being. To raise a daughter.

But, my favorite thing about this morning's "Leap of Faith" was the way Josie herself explained it.

Telling the tale of her first big leap into the deep water alone, she explained: "This 4 year old boy in front of me said to the teacher 'I can do it by myself' and I thought 'if this 4 year old boy can do it, I sure can!' so I just got brave and I decided to do it! And, I DID."

I love that she came to the decision on her own. I love that she viewed it as a choice that she had. I loved that she pushed herself outside of her comfort zone. And, mostly, I just love HER so so much that sometimes, when her so-close-to-4-feet-tall-self jumps enthusiastically into 10-feet-of-something that scares the heck out of her, I can't help but to imagine what amazing feats this little girl has ahead of her. I am so lucky to be her mom.

(In case you're wondering - Bea is pretty sure she's big enough to go off the diving board by herself as well. You gotta watch that one. A little fear and a little less bravery in her case would definitely ease our minds.)

Now get out there and face some fears my friends!