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Farewell Swim Class, We Loved Ye Much

Maddie had her last swim class yesterday,
and I’m clearly going to need a Costco-sized box of Kleenex
at her graduation because I got a little teary as she completed her
final lap.

She’s three. Years. Old. And I’m misting up while she
makes her last “alligator nose”. Geez, lady, get a
grip, right?

I just think back to her first day of swim
class, when she was in with all the other kids and bawling her eyes
out the whole time. And I think about how she spent the next few
days begging me not to take her, but resigning herself and not
fighting me on it, crying less and less before each class until she
was actually looking forward to it. And then I look at her now,
smiling and laughing and teasing her teacher, kicking like a pro
and jumping willingly into the water. I just can’t believe
how far she’s come, how fast.

I wish she could keep taking lessons, but we’ve run out of
cash for the summer, so daily trips to our community pool will have
to suffice. After class I bought her a new pool toy – a
Styrofoam barbell the teacher uses during her lessons – and
gave it to Maddie. Her eyes wide as saucers, she asked me why I was
giving her a present.

“Because, baby girl, I want you to remember how scared you
were the first few classes, and how brave you were also, because
you came anyway. And I want you to think about how much you do in
the water now, and how good you are at swimming, and I want you to
know how proud I am of you. So I bought this toy to celebrate with
you.” Maddie grinned, and went off to tell her teacher what
I’d said, word for word.

I know this is just the first in an endlessly long line of classes
and events and lessons Maddie will be doing, and I’m eager to
move on to the next one; everyone says kids are like sponges,
soaking up everything they see, but seeing that in action’s
pretty amazing. At the same time, the more she grows, the more she
learns, the more I’m preparing her for independence, for
taking another step away from me. Cue the “Sunrise,
Sunset” music, right?

Truthfully, it wasn’t a huge deal for me to walk out of the
building, because we’ll be back in just a couple weeks when
open gym starts back up (can I get an Amen?) and Maddie’s
swimming teacher will be working the preschool then. But the
experience did get me thinking about all the
“graduations” to come, and what kind of mom I’m
going to be at them.

And I’m deeply afraid I’ll be the one whose actions
force her daughter to roll her eyes and hiss, “MOTHER! Knock
it off!”


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