Tuesday, August 7, 2012

When Kids Fly

One of my favorite relationships of the past decade has been the one I've shared with the youngest of my sister-in-laws.  She was two when I arrived on the scene so she's been kind of like my practice kid.  When I'd walk in the door she'd climb up on me like a jungle gym.  When she had soccer games I was there taking notes on the sideline.  But my favorite was/is the pool.  I got to be the launching device that would send her skyward towards the deep end of the pool, flipping, splashing and belly flopping into the water below.  Fortunately, thus far, I've managed to keep in good enough shape to accommodate her size swing from toddler to pre-teen.  But lately, even though we swim almost daily, my attention is focused on the girls; working on their exercises and then keeping vigilant watch on their doggy paddle's as they free swim, with only the aid from their flippered feet, afterwards.  The point of all this work in the water is simple: I want to get to the stage where they can just play effortlessly and I don't have to worry so much about them remembering to come up for air.  This takes practice of course.  Practice and time.  But I got a little teaser yesterday of things to come.  Toward the end of our pool time my sister-in-law sheepishly asks "Can Thea fly today?"  Like I could say no to that request.  I had the girls sit on the side of the pool and spectate - they can't be swimming around if my focus is elsewhere - as Thea climbed upon my shoulders and I pressed off the bottom of the pool to send her flipping down the length of the water.  "Again, again" they cried to both of our delight.  Then, the request changed.  "Me turn!" Arianna shouted.  "Me turn!"  This is what I was waiting for.  Obviously I didn't launch her skyward, but she climbed on my shoulders as I held her little hands and slowly stood up, pulling her off and simulating the jumping motion.  "Again, again!" she squealed through the broadest of smiles.  There are some aspects of being a dad that are tough.  I'm never the first choice when they're not feeling good.  When they pick out prom dresses or (god forbid) wedding dresses I won't be consulted, just handed the invoice.  Five days a week I'm here in the office blogging instead of working while they're off on some jealousy inducing adventure.  But there's one market I've got cornered. ... the human playground.  And fortunately for me, I enjoy this much more then dress shopping.

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