My nine-year old son’s swim trunks are the ones on the left. His father’s hang on the right. As I wandered into the bathroom this morning and looked up at them both I nearly fainted when realizing they seemed the same size.
How can that be?
I was just in the community pool, him in swim diapers, sitting on the stairs holding him tight because he was afraid to go into the big pool. He had a denim hat and adorable little swim trunks and I would slather him until he was he color of paste with sunscreen.
Now he jumps in and can grab the ring at the bottom of the deep end…on the first try.
His nine-year old mind has been hard on him lately. Much like swimming, it can bog him down and pull him under as he wrestles with all his ideas and thoughts and confusion. His sensitivity and intelligence are like weights around him. But he’s learning to use them as easily as he uses the pool noodles and kickboards instead of letting them tug him down.
And boy do they tug.
As I watch and listen to him struggle with pre-tween, pre-puberty and pre-those years…I am reminded so much of all those feelings and issues and thoughts from when we were all children and our chests felt heavy and there were a million butterflies in our stomachs. And I want so badly to pull all the weight off his chest and free every butterfly from his belly. I guess that’s what any parent wants.
But I can’t.
Instead I found myself feeling the silky fabric of his swim trunks this morning, knowing he’ll buoy himself up and down a lot for the next…oh….decade. And wishing him all my knowledge and his fathers and hoping it will help keep him above water for the majority.