When you became a parent, did you really think about what kind of parent you would be? I’m sure at some point you told yourself that you were going to be the “cool parent”. That you would let your kids do all the things you wished your parents had let you do, because YOU knooooow it would have all turned out OK if they had let you do all those things.
Yeah, I had that idea too.
I had it when I as 18 with a fake ID and told my little sisters that I would give them my ID when I turned 21 because it was so hard to get a good fake ID (which I had, but ssshh, don’t tell anyone else I had one.)
Then I turned 21, and for a week straight I had nightmares of my sisters dying in a car wreck because they had been drinking alcohol bought using MY ID…it was awful. I had guilt on my shoulders from not being able to live with myself if they were killed, and guilt on my shoulders knowing I could make their social lives easier. Honestly, the guilt in both directions was heart wrenching. What was the right desicion??
Fast forward quite a few years and I’m staring at my little girls. My 2 year old, 3 year old, and 4 year old little girls. Knowing that they are all at ages that are impressionable.
What I do counts. I want to make the right decisions for them. They are watching me, copying me, doing what I do.
And trust me, I don’t always do it well.
But this time, I know I did.
This past weekend, Hubs and I took the girls to a new-to-us swimming pool with a low and high dive. The high dive is easily 12 feet in the air. All of our girls have gone off low dives a number of times, but a high dive?? Hubs went off of it, but with my new Vertigo issues, I hung back in the water to help the girls to the side of the pool after their jumps.
None of the girls headed towards the high dive, but they all kept eye balling it. I asked Addie if she wanted to go….
“You first, Mommy.”
And in a split second I knew this was one of those times I needed to show my girls that they can do ANYTHING THEY WANT TO DO. They don’t need to be afraid, because we are right beside them, and we will go first if they want us to. I was out of the pool, up the ladder and off the high dive in 30 seconds flat (any longer and I’m pretty sure the Veritgo would have spun me off the top, ugh).
After that jump, there was no stopping Hayden and Addie. Of couse this started an audience, and then the lifeguard decided he might stand a little closer, seeing as how a 3 and 4 year old were heading off that big tower multiple times.
But then Piper made it known she wanted to jump too.
Hubs and I tried to figure out what to do. How do we keep her safe, without bursting her spirit? How do we let her walk down a path she really wants to go down, but let her do it best for her age? How do we teach her to go after what she wants and to not be afraid, if we don’t let her try new things? Isn’t it better to teach her how to do it safely, then to say no?
BUT SHE’S TWO YEARS OLD and it’s a HIGH DIVE!!! For the love of all that is good, the wind could blow her little body off the board!!!
I turned to the lifeguard and asked if a 2 year old had ever jumped off the high dive? He just looked at me baffled. After a few minutes he said, “Can she swim?”, and my answer was, YES!
Piper is 2. She has had swim lessons since she was 14 months. She had just been jumping off a low dive for 15 minutes and kicking herself up to the surface. She is a fish in the water. We have given her the tools she needs. (Thank you Coach Dan!!!)
She. Can. Do. This.
And we were going to let her.
The lifeguard let Hubs climb up the ladder behind Piper (which she emphatically DID NOT WANT him to do). He stood on the ladder, as she walked across that platform. Then like a little angel in the sky she smiled down at me and jumped off that 12 foot board. Into the water she went with no hesitation, kicking backed up to the surface, all the while smiling.
In that moment it confirmed for me that our job is to keep our girls safe, but it is also to teach them to believe in themselves and what they can do, and to give them the tools to go after the dreams they want to.
Today was a growing day for Hubs and I as parents, and for our girls as well, as we all realized, the sky IS the limit!!