Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Pride and Joy

“Mommy, are you proud of me?” That’s what my oldest daughter asked me yesterday. Of course my answer was a resounding, “Yes!” Not that I need a reason to be proud of her, but she is so very amazing. She is smart, beautiful, and sweet. Right now she’s reading, learning Spanish, learning Sign Language, and helping out at home. She has an unswerving faith, as she prays every night for my arm and doesn’t question why it’s not completely better yet. She’s making this transition to homeschool really well so far. She asked me almost everyday since school let out, “When are we going to do my homeschool?” I gave her about a week and a half before starting the language sampler we’re doing this summer, thinking it would be good to give her some time off. She would have been just fine if I’d started the day after school let out. She was so excited when we started yesterday that she did three lessons! She’s been reading everything she sees with words on it and it’s not uncommon that I have to tell her to stop reading so she can finish whatever task she’s meant to be about at that particular moment. School has only been out two weeks, yet already I can see some amazing changes in her.

My girl is very cautious and timid, especially with unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations. One of those situations is being in the water. She is very afraid, and though we’ve worked with her as much as we could, we could get her to relax only a little. Going to a pool was usually not the most enjoyable activity for us. We’ve wanted to get swim lessons for her in the past, but just have not been able to afford it. This year our city is giving free swim lessons! You’d better believe I had every intention of taking advantage of that deal! I went to the sign up at one pool (early, I thought), and couldn’t get her in. I was so desperate to get her into the free lessons that I rushed home and started calling other pools to find an opening. Despite the massive line at the first pool I went to, no one had signed up at the second pool, but they were closing the sign ups in 15 minutes. You had to be present to sign up, so I rushed back out the door to get her name on the list. When I got to the second pool I realized why no one had signed up there. Let’s just say it’s not the greatest of neighborhoods, though it’s adjacent to one of the city’s major tourist attractions. It’s not the worst neighborhood either, but when I saw the depressed surroundings I definitely had second thoughts about signing her up there. But I knew she needed it, and God was using the city to provide it for us, and we can be a light in that dark place. As much as possible, my husband takes her to the pool (which is called Happy Hill, ironically enough). I do believe it’s pretty safe, despite the surroundings. I’ve worked in some really bad places in the past and this neighborhood is like a quiet, peaceful meadow in comparison.

So though we’ve had to contend with some obstacles (like her having pink-eye the second day of lessons), she is getting the instruction she needs to help her begin getting comfortable with the water. She was a bit apprehensive about the lessons at first, and that first day she was not the most cooperative student. But in the days that have followed she has become excited and looks forward to the class. She wants to practice as much as she can, either by going to the pool, setting up our little backyard inflatable pool, or even trying to float in the bathtub. Each time she gets in the water she becomes more comfortable and relaxed. Last night I was watching her “practice” in the bathtub and I could see a confidence in her that I haven’t seen before. She was talking to her daddy and me, and suddenly she seemed a bit grown up and sophisticated (as possible as that is since she was in the bathtub and was wearing swim goggles). She was presenting herself well, her voice took on a tone I’ve never heard from her before, and despite her vulnerability in that instance, I knew she would accomplish everything she was talking about at that moment. She is doing something that is uncomfortable for her and is finding her comfort zone in the water. She is trying something new and difficult. She is overcoming her fear. And that is the confidence that I saw coming out of her last night, the confidence of someone who is facing her fear and defeating it. And for that I am immensely proud of her.

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