On Sunday I was in great need of some down time. A good friend knows these things, even when you don't ask for it. I accepted an invitation to go swimming and Amy let me just sit in the baby pool, too weary to hold a simple conversation. Without discussing it she knew I needed the sunshine and space just to Be. She fed Alexander when he said he was hungry and even cut the crusts off of his sandwich (which she will Not do at home) so that I could rest in the water.
In the water miracles happen. The world just watched Michael Phelps win 8 gold medals. In an article here, he describes how he spent time in the water with a little girl with Down syndrome as this was her Make a Wish dream. He talks about how She inspired Him. In the water Karen Gaffney shows the world her talent and inspires us all. In the water Larkin swims like a fish. She is a natural. She has no fear.
Water can do amazing things. It can build confidence. It can provide support and freedom to bodies that struggle to move on dry land. Only recently has Sophie begun to try and stand with assistance. On Sunday in the water she took hold of the edge of the baby pool, planted her feet solidly and stood with only my fingertips to help her. She didn't realize it, but she was doing it, pretty much on her own.
Then we tried something new in the water. I placed Sophie in a baby ring and held on tight. I was in fear of her tipping over and had visions of screaming for a life guard. Slowly and tentatively both mother and daughter took little steps away from one another. We each gained more and more confidence until I could let her go. With such joy Sophie danced in that baby ring. She stood. She twirled. She floated. She waded around in the water on her own. This was her first taste of independence.
To others at the pool that day, there was nothing much to our little scene. Parents and children all over the country enjoyed each other in the water that day. But Amy knew what it meant. She too knows the miracles and joy that can happen, particularly for our loved ones with special needs, in the water.