I’ve been attempting to call back memories of those adults who showed me support as a child.
Today I recalled my swimming lessons. I think I was maybe eight. This would have been four years after my near drowning and while I exhibited a healthy bit of caution, I was unafraid.
The levels of swimming certification were yellow, orange and red. I wanted the red so badly and I had this fiery, wiry, wild little body that was really strong and agile.
It was the final test and for this, we each had time alone with the teacher. I can’t remember her name or what she looked like but she was young. Late teens, early twenties maybe.
We had to hold our breath under water, identify colors underwater, swim laps. But then came the floating. She supported me on my back in the deep end of the pool while my muscles spasmed and tensed. Surely, you don’t just lie there? I have to do something..?
She calmly, soothingly kept encouraging me.
It was counterintuitive to every human instinct but the truth was that when you completely relaxed, on your back, in the deep end, you would float. She’d move her arms away and back in very small increments.
The triumph!! when I first felt it. I was elated. And heartily congratulated and celebrated. She called me ‘sweetie’, which no one really ever did. I can remember every specific moment in my childhood when someone called me that. It was like balm for my soul.. that I felt slightly ashamed and unworthy of receiving. Now, as an adult, it bothers me greatly to be addressed in this way by anybody under age 70.
I think I only spent twenty minutes alone with her. Me, that little scrawny child with the afro, glasses, and the Goodwill bathing suit with no one to speak for her.
Those twenty minutes drastically contributed to my life in a profound way.
Right now my mission is active: creating, speaking and spreading concepts that can drastically improve the lives of children and adult children. But I plan to spend my retirement in children’s hospitals as emotional support. There were small moments of deep kindness I experienced as a child that I will never forget. I’d love to help someone else in that way ♥