This week there is extra security outside our school. The shootings in Toulouse, by an unknown assailant, have put our community on alert. It's not that there's been an imminent threat, but we've all been reminded in a very arresting way, that because we are Jewish, there are people who wish us dead. It's a frightening thought, leaving my four, beautiful, precious children at school, somewhere I can't be to protect them. I have to trust someone else. I have to trust the system and hope it works out alright. The police van circling the block at pickup time made me shrink a bit inside.
In swimming, everyone has made huge strides in ability. Everyone is now very confident and Noodle (at four) is a much better swimmer than any of her siblings were at this age. (This is due to the year of consistent lessons she has had.) But this week, she was working on diving to the bottom and picking up a toy. After the lessons, we were playing in the pool and she was diving and retrieving. Lu and The Boy-child were professionals and happily played a dive and retrieve game of their own. Sometimes Noodle couldn't get to the bottom on her own and so she'd pop up and ask me to push her under!!
PUSH HER UNDER!?!?
See, my children in the water has been a phobia of mine for a loooong time. When I had postpartum psychosis due to hypothyroidism after Lu was born, it was the pool and water that I spent hours obsessing over. I had nightmares of the children drowning everywhere; in the wading pool, the big pool, the bathtub. I had visions of them laying facedown, their limbs lifeless and their little bodies floating. It was totally illogical, completely terrifying and all encompassing. I have tried to get over these fears because they aren't healthy. The kids must be confident in the water to be safe and in order for that to happen, they have to GET IN the water. So here I was, pushing my baby under the water.
I did it because I was standing right there. I gave her a quick push and made sure to stand back, while maintaining a watchful eye.
It was so. hard. And I was fearful and filled with awe at her ease and skill.
Jut like they haven't batted an eye at the extra security, they are carefree and easy in the pool. At some point they are going to learn that the world is a big and very scary place, with dangers around every corner. But I know that the balance is the beauty and good that can surround us in this world.
It's a scary thing. I won't be able to protect them forever. I am able to protect them less and less with each passing day. But I can give them skills and strength and knowledge and unconditional love. And hope that is enough.