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Yesterday I kicked off my sandals and jumped into my swimming pool with all my clothes on. That’s right. Everything in my world suddenly disappeared except for the little girl slowly going under, and I do not remember thinking about anything except getting her out. Phew!
My four-year old visitor, my friend’s granddaughter, seemed unfazed by my rescue, but me and the two other adults there, and I’m counting in that my recently certified lifeguarding sixteen-year old daughter, all had to catch our collective breath and debrief a moment. Blondie coughed and sputtered, choked and was a little shaken, but generally fine after her dead weight imitation. Her seven-year old brother had given her a little shove and in she went with no apparent swim reflexes. When I looked over she was sinking, quickly filling with water, first her mouth, then her nose, her eyes, her little blond head all going under. In defense of the adults, I want to say we did have a life jacket on her but she took it off because she is four and she can do everything herself already.
Afterward, although a little timid about it, this girl got back in the pool without so much as a wimper. Big brother had to sit out the rest of the swim time, but she was praised for her bravery and encouraged to continue playing near the pool. After all, we’d just shown her that we were there, watching. She could not have been under the water more than three seconds, and her grandmother was kicking off her sandals when I splashed in, and my daughter was on her way as well. This little girl was informed that she is safe and in good hands even in a dangerous situation.

Life is full of danger, but we all must carry on despite that. Having trusted strength nearby, for all of us, is the way to navigate the waters of fear. Someone has to hold your hand, scoop you out, explain it all, or whatever you need, in order to keep going even when life gets tricky.

It was news to me when I figured this out, but now I see it clearly. We must always surround ourselves with those who care and who lift us up when we don’t even know we need it.