Saturday, December 19, 2009

Little Things

Jackson is my big, strong, smart boy. He's also a bit on the timid side. He wants to be 100% sure of himself before he lunges into anything new. Once he's comfortable in a situation he'll give all of himself to it. But things have to be done on his time. It can be maddening to see him close to accomplishing something, but pulling back out of fear. I see it in the way he plays. The way he learns. They way he takes on the world. Sometimes it is big things -- venturing to his Kindergarten classroom on his own for the first time. Reading a new book aloud that might be a bit out of his reading comfort zone. Meeting a new friend, and more importantly, expressing to them how much he wants to be their friend. Those are the big things.

Then there are small things. Trying a new toothpaste might take months of small tries before he can commit to the new flavor. Ordering his own food at a restaurant. Etc. Today's "small thing" came in by way of swimming lessons. It was a small moment for a big feat. Jackson does well in swimming lessons, listens to his teacher, tries to do everything she asks-- except putting his head under water. He's petrified. He is in his 3rd round of lessons and this is the last hurdle to moving forward to the next level. 6 weeks of lessons and he has yet to do it. All week we've been practicing with him and encouraging him, leading up to today's final class that would determine the next level he would go to (or not). We don't want to push too much, but at the same time we know he is ready for it. He loves swimming. He's comfortable on the play area at the pool. He loves baths and playing in the water. But the dunking the head thing -- a small thing -- turned into a big thing. His foot was down and the line was drawn.

But today as he marched confidently into his last lesson he walked directly up to Miss Anna, his teacher, and boldly told her that today he would dunk his head under water. She smiled at him and nodded, pleased but uncertain I could tell. But then he did it. He took a deep breath, caught my eye, and dunked his head full force. And came up smiling and gasping and beyond proud of himself. His eyes shone like silver, reflecting on the water, and his smile was a mile wide. And then he did it again. And again. And again! And at least a dozen times over the course of the lesson. And each time he came up his grin was wider. And he didn't gasp as much. He seemed confident, and proud, and in control of his situation. And tears came to me unexpectedly. I never would have seen them coming. But to see his pride was too much for his Dad and me. We both cheered on this little big step for him. And he proudly accepted his certificate to move onto the next level. And grinned beyond measure. Maybe it wasn't such a little thing after all...


1 comment:

jimbroome said...

Way to go Jackson. Your OP is so proud of you!