Guest Post by Ericalynn
my mother and I haven’t always had the best relationship. when I was growing up, it wasn’t that we didn’t see eye to eye, it was more that we were very private people with very different attitudes about how to handle things, and we never really needed to meet in the middle, but we never attempted to get close because we didn’t realize we even could.
nowadays, we are as close as could be, but it wasn’t always like that.
I was a big fan of trying to do everything myself with as little help as possible. I was also under a false impression that I could do anything I wanted to (which is a wonderful thing to tell your children, but I do honestly believe that children need to understand that they can’t do *everything*…) so when I arrived at my first summer of sleepaway camp when I was 9, I figured I had everything under control.
well, that is, until they had swim testing and realized that not only couldn’t I swim well, but I couldn’t even tread water properly, and that I’d be put in the lowest group with the 3 and 4 year olds – the guppies.
I sort of freaked out. first, I got so agitated when I went to the pool where the guppies were, because I felt out of place and horrible about it. in fact, when I went for my first group lesson, the kids in the pool were wearing floaties. I had no idea who to turn to, so I called my mom.
I expected her to be mad at me, because she, like me, was the type of person who wanted things to be figured out before crying for help. one of her favorite phrases was “God helps those who help themselves.” I was shaking when I called her from the pay telephone in the camp office.
she wasn’t mad at all. in fact, she calmed me down and told me it wasn’t my fault that I didn’t know how to swim. she laughed and said she was a terrible mother because she totally forgot to teach me.
a few days later, I received a little post card from her and on the bottom it said, in smaller handwriting, “don’t you worry. in no time, you’ll be swimming like a fish.” and next to it was a drawing of a fish – which is hilarious because my mother is terrible at two things more than anything else: drawing and telling a joke. the fish looked sort of like me when I tried to swim that first time: distorted and shocked and all messed up!
three weeks later, she came to visiting day, and I surprised her by being able to jump off the high diving board into 10feet of water. only she realized what a feat that was, considering less than a month before, I didn’t know how to swim, I was scared of deep water, and scared of heights as well.
A few days ago I was thinking about how happy I was that my mother and I over these past few years have gotten close and that I can call her a friend. I reminded her of the swimming incident and the fish postcard and she laughed and told me that she had tried to draw that fish three times before finally sending that particular one.
I’m glad we both tried so hard 🙂