Today was the last trip Wyokiddo and I will make to the city pool for the summer. It’s closing this weekend and we have a full schedule the next few days. We made the most of our time, including Wyokiddo’s first trip off the diving board.
This summer, with very little help from me, she learned to actually swim, float and dive to the bottom of the pool to retrieve an object. Her big cousin just taught her how to do a flip underwater and she was even on the cusp of handstands. She is positively fearless.
I can swim but I’m not truly comfortable in the water. So I am in absolute awe of her in the pool. As I swam to the middle of the deep end to catch her coming off the board, her confidence took my break away. Without a moment’s hesitation, she climbed the ladder, marched out the end of the plank, gave one little wiggle of her butt and leaped into the water with the biggest smile on her face. No second guessing, no worrying. She just closed her eyes and jumped.
And to think I could have missed it.
There are times I get self-conscious, lumbering around in my bathing suit. I feel a bit like a moose clambering to get out of a mud bog. I could have let my own fear and body image get in the way of enjoying a summer at the pool with my kid. Do I look good in a swimsuit? Well, no. I’m carrying 3o extra pounds. I have dimples on my ass and my bangs are thinning. And thanks to breastfeeding, my chest isn’t what it used to be. But I get in the pool anyway.
Because here’s the thing…my daughter doesn’t care. She doesn’t see those imperfections. She just sees her mama in the pool, ready to catch her as she leaps off the diving board for the first time. She will remember having fun in the water and laughing when she soaks me, not my cellulite or my flabby arms.
This summer, we ran into friends of Wyokiddos at the pool, but only one was with his mom. Wyokiddo asked me why her friends’ moms didn’t come to the pool, why some only came with a babysitter. I explained that some moms had to work, that some moms couldn’t swim, and that some moms didn’t like to get in the pool.
Today, as we were walking to our car to go home, she squeezed my hand and said “Thanks for being a mom that gets in the pool.”
I know there will be moments in the future when I don’t feel good about my body. I’ll compare it to someone else and feel ashamed that I don’t look like I did when I was 16. I just hope when those moments hit me, I can remember my fearless four-year old and channel her enthusiasm and confidence. Because I never want to be anything less than the mom that gets in the pool.