Sigh. I’ve waited to post this (and actually wondered if I ever would) because it gets my emotions so raw. Let me start at the beginning…
Brian and I decided that it would be a good idea to put both kids in swimming lessons this spring. Liv has never taken “formal” lessons. Christian took “special needs” lessons last winter. Christian enjoyed the water, however, Brian and I were concerned that they didn’t focus enough on swimming skills vs. the-love-of-water. Christian has never had a problem with the latter. We really wanted him to learn some basic water survival skills.
About a month before the classes were set to start (and we were ready to register), I tried emailing the aquatics director to see if it was feasible for Christian to partake in “regular” lessons. I waited and waited. A week passed and I hadn’t heard from her, so I stopped into her office to talk with her directly.
She didn’t seem too concerned about anything that I wanted to tell her about Christian. She just asked (more than once) if Christian was OK without me in the water with him.
Well, yes, he is OK without me.
Her answer to me then was to enroll him in whatever class I wanted to. She didn’t seem to have time or attention to listen to any of my other concerns, so I left her office and signed him up for “regular” class at the same time as Olivia. Easier for me. Awesome.
…or so I thought…
I arrived with the kids on the first night of class. Both were excited and couldn’t wait to get into the water. When all of the children were divided into smaller groups, I could sense a rumble of concern about Christian from the instructors. They were nervous about him. One of them went and asked the aquatics director if she was “OK with him being here.” Her reply was, “If he’s OK without Mom in the pool, then I’m fine with him being here.”
I started to get nervous and anxious about my son being referred to as him. I was starting to get irked, but tried to stay calm and positive for Christian.
I backed out through the door and watched carefully. As I stood there I was horrified, crushed, and angry as one of the instructors (right in front of Christian), started tearing up and shaking. As I tried to read her lips, I could see that she was saying, “I can’t handle this! I don’t know how to teach him! I can’t do this!” She was panicking, shaking her hands, and looking at him like he was the plague! I wanted to run out there, grab Christian out of the water, and shield him from her reaction.
Eventually, the aquatic director came out and talked to the teary-eyed instructor, went and talked to one of the other lifeguards, and then headed my direction. Sigh.
Aquatic director walked right over to me, and in front of all of the other parents, started telling me that Christian could not be in these classes. She told me that he is not capable and that thankfully they were overstaffed on lifeguards that night so one of them could spend time with Christian for the rest of the allotted class time. She told me that I would have to enroll him in the “special needs” classes if I wanted him to continue lessons and that she supposed that she could “roll him over” into the special class that started in two days. She made this sound like she was doing me this huge favor. Sigh.
Had it not been such a long day by that point, I might have been more vocal with the aquatic director. However, as I watched my beautiful boy now happily splashing around with extra lifeguard, I just nodded and told her that I would like to continue the lessons and to go ahead and put my baby in the other class.
I’m sure that aquatic director said some more things to me, but I was done listening. I was too busy watching Christian and fighting back my own tears. I was lost in thought wondering whether Christian had heard and how much he understood about what the swim instructor had said about him at the beginning of the class.
As soon as aquatic director walked away, I could no longer hold myself together. I started bawling, uncontrollably, by that window, in front of the other parents. I tried to stop. I really did. But I just couldn’t. There were too many emotions washing over me all at once.  I donned as brave face as best as I could and attempted to pull myself back together by the end of the class.
Two days later, Christian started lessons in the special needs swim class again.
Three weeks passed and my emotions were not as raw as they had been. The kids are thriving in their swim classes. I made an appointment to talk to the CEO of the place where the kids were taking their classes. He agreed to meet with me the next day.
I recounted our story. He listened to my every word. He asked questioned and repeated me, just to make sure that he fully understood what I had said. He promised to use it as a “teaching moment” and asked that I let him know how the swimming class turned out in the end.
I was satisfied.
Swimming lessons have now come to a close.
Olivia did fantastically well and loved every minute of her class.
And Christian … well, Christian did great. He also had the most excellent of teachers, Mr. Tim. Mr. Tim was genuinely happy to see Christian every week. Mr. Tim was energetic, caring, and resourceful. He got Christian to try things that I wasn’t sure I would ever see him do – like putting his head underwater to grab a ring off of the bottom of the pool! I know! Awesome, right?!? Mr. Tim had him working on paddling with his arms. Once Christian could do that pretty well, Mr. Tim had Christian start working on his kick. Christian still may be a long way from swimming on his own, but he is now on his way thanks to the patience and understanding of Mr. Tim.
I wish that there were more Mr. Tim s in this world…

We enrolled Christian in swimming lessons on Saturday mornings for his safety and our peace of mind.  He is highly attracted to water.  Puddle.  Ocean.  Bucket of water.  Lake.  They are all equal in his mind and therefore are all treated the same.  Jumped in.  Oblivious to any danger that may exist in doing so.   We are blessed that this is one-on-one swimming instruction.  Christian is getting the attention that he needs (especially around the pool, ‘cuz ya know, he’s a runner, too).  We are also happy that this gives him a scheduled weekly outing beyond church and school.

We would have been the unfairest parents ever if we didn’t find a class for Liv to take, too.  She is starting to get more jealous of things that Christian has (because of his needs that we otherwise wouldn’t own).  Thankfully, I found the answer — “Little Steppers” dance class.  It runs during the same hour as Christian’s swim class, in the same building, for the same number of weeks,  and she loves to dance.  Perfect.

Dear “Peanut”,

We have had quite a number of excursions to the pool this year already.  You are one that Daddy and I need to watch very closely.  You don’t fear the water and will run right up to the edge of the pool and jump in if we’re not careful.  Perhaps some sort of survival “swimming” lessons would be ideal for you.  It would be good for you to know how to float face up in the pool in case you fell in!

We are driving up to see family again in 1-1/2 weeks.  We are driving through in one straight shot (trying to get it over with at once).  We’ll have to see how that goes.  We get to spend 2 weeks up there this summer.  Week 1 will be with Grandma & Grandpa V. and week 2 with Grandma & Grandpa H.  We decided this year not to travel so much between the two places, hoping to have a more relaxing vacation and that after a couple of days in one place you will maybe “warm-up” to the grandparents a little more.  You are so used to being around Mommy & Daddy pretty much all of the time that you really don’t take to anyone else too eagerly.  You should be able to see all of your aunties and uncles, too, except for Auntie B and Uncle N, who just moved out to the southwest this week.  We may not get to see them very often with the distance between us.  That’s too bad.  (I miss your Auntie B.)  Anyway, we hope you travel well in the car!  :)

May God bless you as you sleep tonight, my dear child.  May you sleep long and wake well rested.  Tomorrow will be another wonderful day to explore new things in God’s creation.  :)

All my love, Mom

P.S.  This is the Bible verse your father and I had used as a sermon text for our wedding: Ecclesiastes 4:12 – “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  If you are blessed with a wife someday, may the two of you, along with your Savior, be the cord of three strands.  With the Lord on your side, you can never be broken!  Let him be your strength when you are weak.  Nothing is ever too big or too small for Him to handle, just take it to Him in prayer.  :)

(I just had to slip in my piece of advice for the day.  I am your mother, you know!)  :)