Monday, July 21, 2008

Revelation at the pool

I signed Caden up for swimming lessons. Watertots is more like playtime in the pool but Caden really enjoys it. As long as I let him hold a rubber duckie he really doesn't care what I do to him in the water: float him on his back, pull him around like Superman with arms outstretched, he'll even blow bubbles. I'm hesitant to let him go under because of his ear tubes but otherwise he's doing pretty much the same things as all the other kids. I'm counting my lucky stars that he hasn't had to number two during lessons yet. Those swim diapers were not made for a kid taking Miralax!

There are other classes going on at the same time, all ages and abilities. As Caden and I walked around the pool at the end of our first lesson, I noticed some of the other mothers were reading books in the grass, talking on the phone in the shaded picnic area, one was even painting her nails. I thought "That will never be me. I'll always have to be with Caden in the water, or at least keeping a very close eye on him from the side of the pool." Sigh. Pity party, table of one.

I helped Caden up the stairs and then around the upper pool on our way to the car. He got very excited seeing the dives and flips, dropping my hand to sign "jump" over and over. Then I saw him. In the middle of the line and nearly indistinguishable from those around him. I stared until I could confirm that he had Down syndrome. Here he was, probably a middle schooler, in line with his peers, waiting his turn like it was no big deal. As he climbed onto the diving board, I scanned every direction around the pool. Where was his mother? Older sibling to watch him? I began to panic when the lifeguard seemed unconcerned. Then he ran down the board, jumped as high as he could, and spiraled into the water. I held my breath with him until I saw him surface and casually swim to the side, then climb out. He was fine and ready to do it again. I hugged Caden and said, "Buddy, that's gonna be you one day diving into the big pool and swimming all by yourself!" And one day I will be like the missing mother, maybe sitting in the grass doing a crossword puzzle and knowing my son is fine without me.


Kristi Mantoni said...

That will be a wonderful day and I think it will come sooner for Caden then for you! All mom's have trouble letting go.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica! I had a similar experience at the beach in Ocean City as I tried to subtly move Gabby closer and closer to the teen with Down syndrome - but I lost him! It's so hard to DS-stalk on the beach in the crowds! Hope things are going well for you!!
Nancy I.