As a parent, and by definition, someone who is chained to their kids, or at least must sleep in the same house (most nights), it can be difficult to see and appreciate the changes in your children. Sure, you’ll notice if they take the steak knife to their hair or lose a few finger nubs in the blender, but when people visit and exclaim, “Wow, she’s getting so big.” or “She looks just like her great-grandfather” we are mostly left in the position to just shrug and carry on. It’s like trying to see, really see, your own toenails grow. The changes are just too fine or too imperceptible to notice during daily tantrums over what flavor of bath bubbles to use or the exact geographical cheese region necessary to make the ‘good’ mac and cheese.
So, back in December when Michelle was home with Allison, it fell to me to take Cecilia to swim lessons. Now it’s been several months since summer beach days and longer than that since I was able to go to a swim lesson. My previous few visits to the tot swim lessons were living examples of what an ant colony must look like after being doused with a hose. A lot of screaming, a lot of kicking and flailing, a lot of big, terrified eyes.
This time was very similar in many ways, but very different in others. Cecilia and her buddy Jackson were wily veterans by now. They were the calm, majestic king and queen ants in this colony. The frantic worker ants didn’t bother them. Something had clicked. They had conquered their fear. They had discovered buoyancy and a whole new wet, slippery world was open to them (at least the shallow end).
It was startling to watch. This must be why so many people put up with raging hormones and the general unpleasantness of adolescents to become high school and middle school teachers. Witnessing someone finally put all those little fragile pieces together is quite a rush.
Or maybe this is just what it feels like to be a proud Dad. Either way, I’ll take it.
Here’s the proof.
And here’s some moving pictures.
For comparison, here is a link to last year’s swim video.