I wasn't expecting this.
Though he has gone in the water almost every summer since birth, he has never ventured out in the tides by himself. Either my Drummer husband or I would hold tight to him as we jumped waves or swam out beyond the breaking to calmer waters.
But after a summer of pool plunging and swim team swimming, my youngest had decided he was ready to go it alone. "I can handle it, Mom," he declares when I ask him to wait for me.
Shock shows on my face. I counter, "Your strong, but the ocean is a whole different story than a pool."
"I know how to swim well now." He dips a toe in the ripple.
There are things like riptides and waves knocking you over. Things you haven't had to deal with in a pool. And sharks. I hold my tongue and glance over at the Drummer. What did he think of this?
"He's fine. The surf is mild today." The Drummer is calm, smiling encouragingly to our seven year old.
"I'm worried," I confess as I walk over to the Drummer. My lower lip trembles slightly as our youngest walks, waves crashing first his legs then his chest. Mostly, he chooses to jump the waves.
"We are right here."
"Things happen quickly in an ocean," I mumble. The Drummer takes my hand, looks me in the eyes and tells me he's fine.
I quickly glance at our youngest, then scan the horizon for an upright fin.
He would swim and play in the ocean for an hour or more. All under the watchful eye of one calm daddy and one
Not until an hour had elapsed do I breathe a sigh of relief. I felt the air rush out of me. How long had I held onto that breath? Why wasn't I calm like the Drummer?
As our youngest heads for the shore, so do I. My body weakens as I settle in the low beach chair. Feet extend forward through the sand grains to receive a free exfoliating pedicure, which I am too tired to rightly enjoy. My eyes are strained from watching so intently. I'm weary of worry.
Yet, despite it all, deep down, I was proud of our little guy and his bravery. He knew he was ready, and so did the Drummer. Thankfully, neither waited until I was ready. Is a momma ever ready to loosen the hand that holds onto her child? Ready to release a child into the waves of life with all its hammering and rushing? With the sharks that swim just over the horizon? Can't a momma just hold on for a little while longer?
Time presses forward, and children grow and go out into the world.
Perhaps by then, with all these little letting goes, my heart will do better when the time comes.