Recently my middle son has joined a beginner swim team. He loves the pool, always has.
I on the other hand have not always been a fan of the pool, at least not since becoming a parent. One of the first homes we rented when we moved to California had a pool, and I had three small children under five. We tested the extra tall gate, we gave the pool safety talk, we locked the backdoor, we did everything we could to keep our tiny ones safe and even then we knew that bad things happen in the world.
When the baby was sleeping, I would take the older two boys for a swim. Our pool was deep, so I put life jackets on them and held onto the younger one the entire time we were in the pool. I was always right there, watching them, experiencing the water with them.
As the boys grew, I signed them up for swim lessons. I hated swim lessons. I hated getting ready for the pool, I hated how hot and sticky the room felt as we sat off to the side, and I really, really hated helping the kids get dressed after they had finished their lessons. Three tired boys, needing showers and dry clothes which somehow always ended up just a little damp.
And now I have a boy who I can drop off at swim team practices. A boy who goes in by himself when I have to rush off to get another boy to hockey. A boy who packs his own bag, works hard at his practice, and then heads off to the locker room all by himself.
Isn't this so like parenting. The constant care and worry and precaution taking, slowly replaced by baby steps and feeding themselves, to heading off on their own to school or practice or the real world. My son no longer needs me to be there.
He does still need a ride.
So I'm not done parenting yet.