Today we wrapped up our 4th day of swim lessons for the year. It was a tough day. Our 8 year old is a joy and a delight. He is also strong-willed, an asthmatic, and dyslexic. I don’t often talk about these challenges because I don’t want them to be what define him. Regardless of these things he is a child of God who is wholly loved and adored. Some days are just harder than others.
The first 3 days of class were great. But on day 3 they jumped from the diving board. He was nervous but conquered his fear and jumped. He didn’t love it but he was proud he did it. However, this morning on day 4 he woke up saying he was nervous to jump today. He wasn’t sure he would pop up and make it to the wall all on his own. I prayed for him and we talked about it for a bit. He was doing better.
When it was time for his group to jump they were needing to go quickly because others were waiting. This child does few things quickly. We’ve learned to honor his time table when we can. He ended up being first in line with his class and just needed a minute to think clearly. But he wasn’t given that minute and was pushed from the diving board by another instructor. This is their practice – if you can’t jump they drop you in. They don’t do it to be cruel, but to get you past the fear of jumping. I knew this going in, and if this had been the end of his struggle today we probably would have been ok.
After the diving board it was time to dive from the wall. This was super scary for him and resulted in his teacher pushing him in twice because he wouldn’t dive. It was dramatic because he’s big and was resisting. At this point I can see him struggling to breathe. I knew if he didn’t calm down he was going to have a full blown asthma attack. I went and got him and had him sit with me and calm down. We cried, we prayed, and he agreed to finish up with his class today.
When rejoining the class his teacher told him he was going to have to move to a younger class because he wasn’t able to do what he needed to do in the deep end. I mentioned my son is dyslexic. This results in him processing things differently. Some times when you ask him to do something it doesn’t click right away. Sometimes it takes him time to gather his composure and realize he’ll be ok doing this new thing. Here’s the thing though – he’s really bright. So when you tell him he’s going to need to be with kids that are younger because that will be easier what he hears is I’m not good enough or smart enough.
I was able to talk with the woman in charge before we left and I think we’ve made a plan that everyone can get on board with for tomorrow. A ton of thoughts were swirling in my head as we drove home today. Did I do the right thing? Should I have just let him struggle? Should I have rescued him sooner? Is his heart broken? Does he feel like I didn’t care he was upset?
Ugh. Being a mom is hard. Seeing our kids suffer is hard. Deciding when to step in and when to butt out is hard. But ultimately I know my kid best. Today he needed to be rescued.