There are moments as a mother that make it all worth it. That you look back at all the struggles and decisions you have made to date; all the unattended soccer games, all the struggling to wrangle them into hockey gear, all the torturing moments and tears at swimming lessons-- and think to yourself-, "I made the right decision", or "I did a good job." (sometimes you need to be the one to say it to yourself, you know!)
Something happened this summer to change things for us. Something magical and special that only a mother could feel. A milestone. It wasn't learning to walk , or talk , or potty train, or riding a bike, or other major milestones that make you want to shed a tear, and wipe your brow all at once. Phew! They did it---finally!
This summer my 8 year old son, jumped off the dock at the cottage, unprompted, un-coaxed or guilted or even pushed...he simply put on his bathing suit, saw the glistening lake and it's reflection of the sun calling to him, and he....jumped. Then he jumped again, and again, and again. And then my 5 year old daughter did the same. (with her lifejacket on)
The story behind this is that for years his cousins have been jumping in the lake. In fact his 5 year old cousin jumps in the lake without a lifejacket on, even his 5 year old sister jumps in the lake. (ahem....not to make comparisons) But to put it in perspective, last year he wouldn't even swim in the lake, well, because, lakes are dark, and mushy and we don't know whats in there. I get it.
Every year, we go to the cottage with all their cousins and neighbors, and I watch as he feels badly that so much attention is drawn to it, and that he feels worse (about himself) about being to scared to jump in. For years, I have told him that it's ok, that when he is ready, IF he is ever ready, he will jump in the lake. Now, don't get me wrong, I have also been one of those people who get into the lake and call to him from the dark and mushy water, telling him it'll be ok, I'll catch him. But he knew. He refused, he resisted, he would do everything else, BUT jump in the lake. I have known since he was a baby that he was a cautious kid, he needs his own time to trust the situation, to assess and be completely comfortable. And let me tell you, when you wait it out, and nurture it...
It could have taken forever, I could have assumed there was something very wrong with him, put the pressure on so he could fit in, have more fun, be a part of the gang. For who? Instead, which can sometimes be very hard for a parent, myself included, I let him go with his gut...
This year was it- and it was all worth the wait!
Oh, and by the end of the week, my daughter was jumping in the lake with no lifejacket on TOO! Double-proud moment!