Friday, January 13, 2006


I am beginning to realize that I am one of those people who can make an incredible amount of movement and not actually GO ANYWHERE—I do not consider it a gift.

My daughters love this story:

When Olivia was four she almost drowned. I was nursing Isabel behind one of those glass mirrors, during swim lessons. The instructor wanted the class of three and four years old to jump in the deep end of the pool. The teacher had them wear life jackets, go down the slide and my little girl did that just perfectly and without fear. Then while the instructor was getting out of the pool, my child unzipped her life jacket, climbed back up the stairs and went down alone.

No one saw her. She bobbled there for a minute then went under--there’s still a small crack in the mirror where I broke the glass. (My daughter’s favorite part: I had one bare breast pressed against the mirror, holding Bella, my fist banging.)

Olivia was pale, still...she did not breathe and then she did. I made them take her back into the water. I carried her to the instructor who had forgotten her and I said, you need to swim with her, you need to laugh and make it fun. Do not let her be afraid. The teacher denied me, grew frightened of me then did actually what I said.

Olivia loves to tell me this story. After she has won a ribbon or a metal from a swim meet she always tells me this tale on the way home. Isn’t it amazing mom, I have come this far?

I want you to tell me this when I old about these last few years. I want it to make sense some day, feel like I have gotten somewhere---all this movement has not been in vain. I am tired of treading water. I need to swim.

I am also tired of white walls.


Blair said...

That is a wonderful story.

LJCohen said...

T--you are not treading water, not in the least. Your post moved me to tears. The story, your relationship with your daughters, the stark beauty of your language. No--most definitely not treading water.

much love,

Weird said...

Great post, it really struck home even though my Liv hasn't begun to swim yet.


Suzanne said...

Olivia! Your Aunt Suzanne thinks you rock. In fact I think all three of you are the girls of wonder and light. Jack starts swimming lessons this spring. I'm still nursing. I better not find my breast pushed up against a window, people. T, I hope Emily grows up to be as happy and confidant as Liv and Bella. :-)

Suzanne said...

Confident. Freudian slip. I hope she'll look at me as confidant, too, I suppose. ;-)