Overcoming? Is that the right word for what we did this summer?
My daughter who is blind is now nine. Last year she had her first two weeks of swimming lessons, as did her siblings. What a difference competent swimming instruction makes!
This year, we did it again –two weeks straight of lessons which culminated in two lifeguards holding my blind child’s hands and jumping into the deep end, nine feet deep. By the time they did that, she had learned to hold her breath for nine seconds underwater and had overcome any residual fear of having her entire head submerged. Was I nervous? Not one bit! What’s safer than your daughter in the deep end with two life guards at her side?
Instead, I took a fast sequence of pictures the first time they jumped; made a video the second, just like I did when my seven year-old jumped into the deep end, holding the lifeguard’s floatation tube, (landing next to her instructor) at the end of her class.
I’ve been reflecting on that post I wrote a couple weeks ago and it’s finally hit me: this is the summer when my daughter who doesn’t see is doing the same things in the pool as her siblings…no exceptions. She’s doing back floats, front floating, lots of continues bobbing to practice taking breaths and holding breaths, etc. She can hold her breath underwater and make her way to the edge; actual swimming strokes are an “emerging skill” as they say in school. Granted, my four year-old son isn’t doing any of these things, but he’s observing and learning the skills to prep him for those adventures the next few summers.
The summer of 2011 will therefore go down in my memory as the summer we overcame my daughter’s disability…in the pool anyway. I’ll take it. I loved it!