I took my son to swimming lessons this morning. He did well enough. He still won’t go underwater willingly, but he is bobbing, jumping into the shallow end, and even acting jovial in the water with the others kids, unlike the first day. My daughter and I sat together as we have for the past week and a half. Today she snuggled into my lap for most of the time. The day was going swimmingly well, but it was early.
When my son’s lesson was over we hopped into the car and ate lunch on the way to a theater downtown to see a movie sponsored by the local library. Our spirits were high as we settled into our chairs and sat back to watch the show. At one point I found my daughter snuggled into my lap, for the second time that day, during a scary part. I held her close and put my arm around my son. He snuggled across the arm rest into my chest. All I could think about during the happy and turbulent parts of the movie was how much I love my kids. The day was going swimmingly well.
After the movie was over we sat on a bench outside the theater and sat passively in the sun as people dispersed. We had rushed around in the morning to get to swimming lessons. We had rushed to get to the movie. I don’t like it when I have to rush my kids around all the time. But since I am a high-energy person I can only sit still for so long. Since my kids are pre-school aged they can only sit still for so long. On a whim I asked, “Want to walk to the duck pond?” In unison they yelled “Yes!” We strolled that way without a single rushed step. The day was going swimmingly well.
As soon as we arrived the kids took a lap through the adjacent gardens. They play this game every time we go. I lead them into the garden area, and then I am sternly told to go wait at the opening at the other end of the path. All went well and they tore through the opening and begged to do it again. This time, as I waited at the same spot, I heard my daughter howl in pain. When I reached her I saw two bloody knees and one bloody hand. Oh boy, it was a bad fall. I picked her up and carried her to a bench in the gazebo. The day was not going swimmingly well.
My daughter’s howling was in full-on panic mode. I quickly pulled out two wet clothes out of my purse and squeezed one on top of her right knee, where the blood was now dripping. I held the other on her left hand where I could see a deep cut. I held her and let her howl. I didn’t try to make her stop. I found her snuggled into my lap for the third time that day. I told her over and over that she would be okay as I continued to let her howl. I wanted to make sure she screamed the shock out before I tried to quiet her. I pulled out a tissue and wiped her tears. She whimpered and screamed about how bad her boo-boos hurt. The blood made everything worse. I tried not to think about the fact that we were a half mile walk away from where I parked our car. My son looked increasingly worried and my daughter was still distressed. The day was not going swimmingly well.
Eventually my girl calmed down enough for me to carry her over to the duck pond and splash water on her boo-boos. As soon as she caught sight of the wounds and more blood she started howling again. There is just something psychologically alarming about the sight of your own blood. I stayed calm and reassured her, speaking from experience, that she would be okay as I covered her wounds back up. I saw another mom across the pond with a huge purse and wondered if maybe she had a Band-Aid swimming around in there. I picked my daughter up, my son in tow, and I approached her with my inquiry. She dug around for a minute and pulled out four tiny spot bandages. Not ideal, but I received them with gratitude. I put one on my daughter’s hand, two on the really bad knee, and one on the other knee. She calmed. Band-Aids are miracle workers for kids. Most kids covet them because they assume they “make it all better.” I praised this phenomenon. The day was going un-swimmingly swimmingly well.
We walked back to the car in a series of starts and stops. I carried my girl. She walked. I carried her. She walked. In order to make this ordeal more fun we’d pick out a point in front of us and I’d carry her to it. We’d pick out another point and she’d walk to it. And so on. The garbage can — we made it! The green bench — we made it! The staircase — we made it! The cross walk — we made it! Across the street — we made it! To the top of the hill — we made it! To the parking garage — we made it! To the elevator — we made it! To the car — holy freaking shit — we made it! I made a point to celebrate our triumphant moment. The day was going swimmingly un-swimmingly well.
When we got home I noticed that some yellow flowers on the bank in front of our house were in full bloom. Anything that blooms around my house was planted by prior owners and it blooms on its own accord that has absolutely nothing to do with my actions. Today this pretty patch of flowers, in the midst of a bed that sorely needs weeded, attracted my eye. I felt relief that we were home. My son got the mail and handed me a package. The contents included two books that I had ordered on Amazon. I acknowledged the joy the flowers, the relief, and the books brought me. The day was going more swimmingly than un-swimmingly well.
As for my daughter, though calm, she still needed medical attention from Dr. Mommy. I turned her appointment into another fun learning game. My son and I gathered supplies. I sat my daughter on the exam table. We cleaned and dressed her wounds. Three different kinds of Band-Aids, bacitracin, and a Zootopia yogurt tube later we were all starting to relax. My daughter acknowledged the princess Band-Aids that brought her joy, as well as the large adhesive pad out of an emergency and unopened box that made her feel like a big deal. Her worst boo-boos to date are in the history books. The day was going more swimmingly than un-swimmingly well.
This evening I am ready to end the day as swimmingly as possible, but not without the realization that sometimes life turns on a dime and you have to decide how to handle getting wet.
The swimming lessons will pay off; the boo boos will heal.
Editor’s note: Un-swimmingly is a made-up word for the purposes of this blog post.