The days are officially getting shorter and the air conditioning is getting too cold. As school begins, I'm left reviewing the summer and the dreaded swim lessons. In my mind, my older son was going to take swim lessons (and love it, of course) and my younger son and I were going to do the sweet little Mommy & Me swim program at the same time. Perfect.
But from the first day, my older son dug his heels in. I was so confused. This kid is part fish. He loves the water and rides a noodle or tube way beyond my reach. He jumps in, lets the water go over his head, and talks about swimming all. the. time. How could he NOT love swimming lessons?
As usual, this unexpected resistance taught me a lesson. I noticed the story I created: "These people probably think I'm that mom who coddles her son...that I'm making him into some kind of mama's boy..." Woah. Why do I assume showing compassion when my son is afraid is a sign of weakness in him or me? And why does "Mama's boy" equal weakness? Also: Hello-it's swim lessons! Not a big deal.
When I really started to look, I noticed how I acted in this situation was important-not whether he swam or not. I could be as consistent, supportive, and encouraging as I am at home. Swim, don't swim. I'm going to love you either way. If you're afraid, I'll be here to support you. Night, day, wet, dry, summer, winter, alone, in a crowd. My love is that constant.
I'll admit part of me kept hoping he'd change his mind and decide solo swim lessons would be cool-or at least something he was alright with. Or that we'd get there by the end of summer. But with each passing lesson, I let go of that a little more. And everything softened.
Since I made a story, I could change it. In my new story the people around me notice how well I handled the situation-with calm connection and love. Even better, in my new story, I knew we were doing great. I happened to notice a family who had a similar problem copying my strategy in the following weeks.
So, sweet one, thanks for the lesson. I love you and myself for it. Here's to swimming next year.