Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Timing is everything

"I promise I will jump in Mama!" Mo's voice repeats the phrase again.

It has been her personal mantra this past week since her last swim class. Willing herself to do it. Attempting to gather her courage and make that leap off the side into the waiting arms of her swim instructor.

She's not usually like this.

In the nearly four years of her life, physical activities have been quite easy for her. Walking before nine months, (I do not exaggerate)jumping with two feet off the ground before her second birthday, and at soccer clinic this past fall, being mistaken for a five year old as she threw shoulders and dribbled the ball like the best of them.

She's good at physical things.

Swimming is different.

She has to work at it, and I don't think she likes that.
Bryan's DNA taking over there. 

With her first session of swim lessons behind her, confidence in the water has slowly been gained. No longer does that half frozen smile seem pasted on her face, as her visibly tense shoulders and arms cling to Miss Theresa for dear life. Instead, she kicks with strong legs, paddles her arms left and right, and amazingly at the last lesson this session even put her entire face in the water, on multiple occasions.

Maeve is a different story.

This kid loves the water, almost to a fault.

On one of the first classes I made the mistake of trying to slide in down the ladder while she sat on the wall waiting. In the time it took me to descend those three stairs, she had stood up and jumped in. Luckily, my cat like reflexes were able to pull her up before any permanent drowning occurred.

Imagine the lifeguard having to intervene during a parent child swim class?
Only me. Only me.

As the ten weeks came to an end, our Monday night ritual had been too much for me, alone. Undressing, suiting up three bodies, in the water it was Maeve and I together, while Mo swam with her teacher. Bathroom breaks in a sopping wet bathing suit, returning back to the water trying to keep everyone alert and paying attention to their respective teachers, then showering, dressing after.

It wiped me out!

So, as enrollment became open for the new session, it was decided that we would switch to what we would hope would be the leisurely pace of a Sunday early evening class. Since it's Sunday, Bryan would be home!

I was swept away thinking of how fabulous it will be to have an extra set of hands to help, that extra body in the water with Maeve so I could actually watch Mo, that I overlooked a major issue.

We piled into the minivan, all six of us. Bags packed with bathing suits, swim diapers, and towels as Grammie & Popsie eagerly awaited seeing their grand babies swim.

Sitting in the back row, I began talking, "Remember Mo, this is a new session, so Miss Theresa might not be your teacher."

"It's okay Mama!" she said, "I still gonna jump, right Popsie?"
"Oh Mo," he began, "you're so brave! I know you can do it!"
"Jac, we're making good time!" Bry started. "You know next week we don't have to leave so early."
"It's okay!" I said. "Better to be early then late."
"Grammie, I'm gonna jump!" her mantra continues. "Will you be proud?"
"Oh Mo!" she gushes, "Of course! You're the best kid in the whole wide world! Popsie and I can't wait to see you swim!"

Pulling into the parking lot, the clock grants us a seventeen minute reprieve. Plenty of time to undress, suit up, hit the bathroom before swim lessons.

Bryan disappears into the men's locker room as my mom follows the girls and I into the ladies room. Having that extra set of hands is a dream, as we quickly and without fight get everyone ready for swim lessons.

Onto deck with march, our six pack, ready for the day.

Ten minutes to spare. Apparently this new day and time will be grand!

"I'm gonna jump, Daddy!" Mo says, looking up to him as she grabs his hand. "You gonna watch me do it?"
"I'll be right in the water next to you dude," he says. "I'll see it! I promise!"

Eight minutes until time, as the class before begins their final jumps.

As a toweled child walks by with their parent, I notice a piece of paper in their hand.

Could it be? I think.
No. It's not a certificate.
Not a completion certificate.

It's the first day of class, so why would they have these papers?

Five minutes until class time.

Miss Becky, Maeve's instructor from last session walks by, a smile on her face as Maeve waves frantically.

"Hi Maeve!" she says.

"Hi!" Maeve nervously mutters then smashes her face into my thigh.

"Sorry we had to switch classes, " I begin. "It just will be easier on Sundays since my husband is here".

Her smile wanes.

"You know the new session starts tomorrow right?" she asks. "Today is the last day of this session."

"You got to be kidding me!" Bry says, between eye rolls.

"Seriously?" I ask.

"YEAAAAHHHH!!" Mo cannot contain her glee, as she looks to Popsie, "I don't got to jump in today, Pops!"

Her excitement is plastered all over her face.

"That sucks!" I say.

Becky offers a "Sorry" while walking away.

"Well, I guess no swimming today." I say. "I guess we'll be back next week!"

"No pool?" Maeve asks. Her eyes begin to tear.

"Sorry, Shine. Mama and Daddy messed up!"

"No kick, no pool? Swim!" she says again, this time between tears.

My heart breaks as Bry says, "Daddy got it all screwed up! How about we go to the noodle store?"

"NO, POOOOOOLLLL!" she is heartbroken, as she throws her swim suited body on the wet pool deck.

Meanwhile, Mo has already gotten my mom to bring her back into the locker room.

"Grammy, next week I'm gonna jump in!"

Sure, Mo.

Next week.

Linking up with the fabulous Yeah Write Challenge!
Be sure to vote on Thursday!


  1. I can feel your exhaustion after 10 weeks...
    Nicely told, I can just see the whole family showing up, getting ready and then finding out the lesson is not happening. Hope you didn't get too many eye rolls :)

  2. Oh, her little eyes pooling with tears slayed me!
    So beautifully described.

  3. Oh oops!! It happens to the best of us :)

  4. Oh poor baby I could feel the anticipation building to the big moment...will tune in next week for the big splash!

  5. The brave psyching up is familiar in this house, too. Sometimes it's helpful, and sometimes not. I've also arrived for a class only to find it's the wrong day, vacation, too early or too late. Sigh. I was so organized before children! Great post!

  6. Ha! Loved this, Jackie. Mo's relief cracked me up. I'd be the exact same way, too. Eh, there's always next week!

  7. I can relate!! :-) Hope Mo finds her swimming courage soon - that is a hard one for my oldest too.

  8. I was with you every step of the way here. Poor girl! And Mo's relief is palpable!
    Lovely post!

  9. That was just a dress rehearsal. Mo is 'way' ready now.
    I didn't jump in the pool until the photographer from the newspaper came to visit. True story. Have the picture to prove it. :)
    Cute story, Jackie.

  10. Isn't it true in every family that you are always talking one off the ledge while the other one is nearly drowning or flying or whatever???

    Isn't it always true that if you don't have these moments you are one of THOSE moms who don't get that kids make messes, rules are made to be broken, and dessert is a perfectly acceptable appetizer for any meal?

    Ellen once gave me a card that read, "Good moms let their kids lick the batter off the beaters. Great moms turn the mixer off first." You are a great mom. Erin


Let me know what you think.