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August 1, 2013

A Day of Lasts

Last Thursday was a big day. 

In the morning we marked the girls’ last swim lesson.  We did a total of two sessions…twenty lessons in all…and I had to work not to tear up bidding farewell to Ms. Jeanie.

Over the past two months, I’ve seen the girls transform…from kids who didn’t want to get their faces wet this time last year…to kids who were beyond excited to retrieve rings off the bottom of the pool!

I don’t know how much there was to do with the girls’ age – 4 ½ this summer, versus 3 ½ last summer – versus the perfect-for-us approach of Ms. Jeanie.  She was fun and inviting, but firm.  She would let the girls experiment and have a good time in the water, but she also let them feel the consequences of their actions.  “If you don’t keep your belly up and your head back (when floating), you’ll sink!”

The girls truly thrived in the pool this summer.  By the last lesson, they could swim almost across the pool!  And most importantly, they loved it.  I am so very grateful to Ms. Jeanie, who set them up for a lifetime of fun in the water.  I’m already looking forward to seeing her again next summer.

And then Thursday afternoon was our last tumbling class.

Outside of swimming lessons, which I would put in an entirely different category, the girls had never participated in any kind of class / activity.  Since they did so well in the preschool setting, I thought they would be fine…but when the first class started and I saw they were by far the youngest, I began to worry it wouldn’t be a great fit.

All the other kids had taken tumbling before, but our girls didn’t know a forward roll from a cartwheel…much less how to do one.  I was really pleased, though.  With the exception of stretches and warm-ups, the girls got a lot of one-on-one attention from the instructors. 

What surprised me, and SO warmed my heart, too, was how much help they got from the older girls.  I worried that the older kiddos (the average age was probably seven or eight) would get frustrated having to “share” the floor with my girls.  I couldn’t always hear the dialogue, but everything I saw was just the opposite.  The older kiddos helped direct A&B on where to go, and they encouraged them all along the way.

The girls LOVED tumbling…and they LOVED the welcome waves across the parking lot, and the hugs from the older kids at the end of class.

Thursday was bittersweet, for sure.  Our girlies are growing up…learning…and doing new things.  It’s such a blessing to watch, and kinda hard to see one chapter close.

Of course we’re looking forward to the next chapters, of which I know there will be many!


Heather Brandon said...

Tears for last swimming lessons :( I admit I am getting weepy at the thought of a first- first day of preschool this month. Who told these kids they could grow up?!

Olusola said...

Oh my! I love it when I hear stories of older kids showing some good old-fashioned big-sisterly love to younger kids. Its sad that that's so rare these days but I'm glad A & B got to experience it :)

Barbara Manatee said...

Wow! What a big summer for them! Way to go girls (and Mommy for trying new things!)

Sarah's got a few more weeks of gymnastics and appears to have decided to return to dance instead of gymnastics. I cringe at that thought but am willing to let her decide. I think part of the decision comes from one of her friends wanting to do dance too and knowing they will be in class together. Here's hoping this year is calmer than last!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Oh Mandy, I can just imagine how your heart is bursting with pride at how far your little ladies have come in just 20 lessons.,

I do think the age has something to do with it but mostly the teacher!!!!!

Big hugs to A and B.

Anonymous said...

I think your swimming class experience sounds awesome! :) i really want to try to find something like that around here! we considered tumbling, too, but i'm glad we didn't do it. the kids are not even 4 yet...and their attention span is so short! but it sounds like it might be the perfect activity for next year!

so excited for you, friend, and your little family as you continue to embark on firsts AND lasts!!!