From fear to faith.

My childhood summers were filled with one of the most wonderful pastimes - swimming all day, navigating the underwater crystally caverns, eating popsicles in the sun, drying off on a towel and eating snacks as the sun became lower in the sky. 

My swim teacher, Sharon, was a cute high-schooler with a short feathery hairdo and bright smile. As a young child, I thought the older lifeguards were practically celebrities, and my one-on-one swim lessons with Sharon were treasured times.  I felt so special when on the last day of swim lessons, she gave me her lifeguard whistle, which I still have to this day.

Now, my heart quickens to see almost-4-year-old Luci Belle learning to navigate the water, becoming a little fish in her own right.  This past week, she overcame a huge hurdle and learned to swim.  Before swim lessons started, my daughter wouldn't even allow a single drop of water to touch her face during bathtime.  She loved to swim in the pool but only with floaties on her arms.  I knew this was going to be a rough lesson to learn, but an essential one - for safety purposes if none other. 

When we arrived at swim instructor Mrs. Angie's pool on day one, she utterly panicked and clung to me, screaming.  It was all I could do to remind myself that this was a step my daughter needed to take without me.  I had to hand her over into the {loving, capable} arms of Mrs. Angie and step away.

From behind the tinted windows of Mrs. Angie's livingroom, I could see the pool but hear nothing.  Over the next few days, it was like I was watching a silent movie of my daughter moving from fear to faith.

The crocodile tears as she was reluctantly carried around the pool.

Then, the tears stopped flowing.

Tentatively sticking her chin in the water, then the rest of her face.

Being pulled up by strong arms to gasp for air.

The full body submersion, the kicking and reaching.

The smiles as she re-emerged and saw photos of herself underwater.

The look of hope and focus in her eyes as she tried her first jump.

Squeals of joy as she jumped off the side with abandon.

Confidence, empowerment, joy.

Because once you know how to navigate the waters, it's not scary under there; it's beautiful.

At the end of day two, she was already swimming freestyle across the pool, underwater, by herself.  I could hardly believe my eyes. 

Seeing her learn to swim brings back so many sweet memories for me.  It's so exciting to see her enter this new stage of childhood.

Now, she asks everyday if we can go swimming.  In the pool at a friend's house yesterday afternoon, she beckoned me over to where she was splashing around on the steps.  She said, "Mommy, come look!  It's magical under here!" as she dunked her face underwater without hesitation.  I smiled and swam over and joined her, because yes, I do know it's magical under there.  And I couldn't be happier to join her underwater and see for myself.

My daughter's leap of faith has led to freedom.  And this past week she's taught me more about courage, about taking risks, and about looking for the beauty that's just beneath the surface - if only you'll have the courage to jump in.