This week's events - if I haven't mentioned it before - have just leveled me. The irony of the woman who performed the ultimate random act of kindness for me after Gavin died... then lost her own little boy a little over a year later. And the fact that he died in a pool the week I've been writing about Brian's swim lessons at the local YMCA.
But there's something else. As you know, Gavin LOVED the water. Any kind of water. He also had no concept of danger. If someone had predicted that Gavin was going to die in a random and unexpected way - I would have assumed it would have been in water - not a random febrile seizure that would stop his heart on a sunny, Wednesday afternoon in April. Gavin, like Bode, was not 100% like his peers, cognitively and developmentally. This tragic accident could easily have happened to Gavin. It just would have taken five seconds of not looking. Honestly - Gavin was that quick and it is just that easy to get yourself into trouble that you can't get out of.
So for the last few days - as I watched Brian in his swim lesson - I thought of Bode. And Gavin. And how Brian was fearful of the water for a long time... until Gavin died. After Gavin died, it was like he passed on his love affair with water to Brian. It's a beautiful thing to watch him play and splash and jump in the pool into his Daddy's arms or mine.
Brian was brave over these last two weeks and tried new things!
He was able to float on his back unassisted for ten seconds!
He practiced putting his face in the water and swimming using his arms and kicking his legs.
He enjoyed laughing with his fun swim instructor, Miss Stephanie.
"She's hilarious, Mom." he told me
The other kids in his class seemed way more advanced - they were jumping in without anyone catching them... swimming doggie paddle or actually swimming back to the wall... swimming using the noodle, etc. I was proud of Brian for knowing what he could and couldn't do, though. He didn't try anything that he knew he couldn't do without the teacher's help.
The last day was yesterday and it was all about safety. She taught them how to use a pool noodle (or anything they can find) to pull a friend out of the water. They learned about calling a lifeguard for help. They practiced with life vests and getting in and out of an emergency raft (definitely the highlight of Brian's experience!)
Brian definitely seems to have a healthy fear of water. But here's the thing... I'm still not comfortable. After this experience with Bode this week - I feel like Brian (and maybe even Hope!) need serious swim training. We don't have a pool at our home (and never will, thank you!) - and we're happy to catch Brian as long as he wants and hold him in the water to play. But I want him to be able to save himself if he falls into a pool. I'm considering private swim lessons throughout the rest of the summer.
Thank you to (the hilarious!) Miss Stephanie from our YMCA for a great two week swim lesson!
The last two weeks has also been "stroller boot camp" for little Miss Hope. Brian and I decided that she needed to love sitting in her stroller and learn to entertain herself before we go on vacations this summer to the beach or to amusement parks - or for things like his swim lessons or Tee Ball in the Fall. We are happy to report that she passed "boot camp" with flying colors. She sat in her stroller happily 80% of the time during Brian's swim lessons entertaining herself...
...10% of the time engrossed in watching her brother in the pool...
...and the rest of the time in my lap cheering Brian on! The love affair continues.