This pandemic has brought so many changes to our lives. The weight of it all feels so overwhelming at times. Being a parent during all of it has been some of my most challenging obstacles. Managing my own mental health while trying to uphold the mental, social, and physical health of my kids, all while trying to keep them on course academically has been no easy feat.
This summer we tasted some normalcy and took the kids swimming in our town pool. My 3-year-old has been learning to swim without her floatie and is genuinely impressive. Swimming was never a strength for me, mostly since I had to hold my nose and ears when jumping in (which is also no easy feat).
Nothing makes me prouder than seeing her with zero fear as she runs and launches herself into the water. Being the independent woman that she is, I’m not allowed to help in any capacity. While she is running and jumping confidently, I must watch. Waiting for the exact moment when to pull her out that isn’t too soon or too late.
Those 5 seconds feel like an eternity waiting for her kick herself back to the top. So many times, I would catch myself wanting to grab her right away, not giving her the chance to figure it out because of my own self-doubt. In trying to not transfer my own childhood fears onto her, I need to give her the freedom to learn that she can trust herself.
If I doubted her gut instincts that she could do this, if I told her no and that I needed to catch her despite her bravery, if I grabbed her too soon from the water… she would never know that she can swim. She would never know the feeling of achievement as she figured out a hard thing.
I never want my anxieties and failures to become my kids’ anxieties and failures. They deserve so much better. I want them to face difficult moments running and launching themselves into it with full confidence that they will swim to the top, kicking at full speed.
Watching your kids be in a place where they can sink or swim and knowing that your place as a parent is to just be there, will always be a gut-wrenching job. Watching them experience pain and not being able to eradicate it for them will never get easier, but seeing their smile after they overcome adversities is incomparable.