Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just Jump

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson


There is no shame in trying and failing.

Shame comes from refusing to try.

once there was a little blue fish named Dory.

I had one of those profound, "This-is-why-I-mother" days yesterday.  Lily came home from diving, frustrated and upset.  She was fighting with her fear of the high dive and completing an inward tuck.  She had done it once, but every time she climbed those stairs, her fear would overtake her, and try as she might to convince herself otherwise, her mind could not make her body leave the board.  In a tearful mess, she relayed practice to me, one attempt after another, becoming more emotional with each retelling. Not only had the inward become the enemy, she knew that next week she would have to attempt a reverse (also known as a gainer) in order to compete, and the reverse when incorrectly attempted, hurts.  Hurts bad.

I advised her to write her frustrations in her journal, venting all the emotion to paper, then set a goal for how she was going to accomplish her goal--another thing she hates: writing.  We sat together at the desk, me blogging and her tearfully penning her experience.  After ten minutes, she asked, "Will you come watch me and help me if I practice the inward 50 times?  Then maybe I won't be afraid any more."

Out we went to the pool.  And I watched as my sweet little fish beat that fear.  Fifty-one times she walked to the end of that board, went through the motions and hurtled her body first up, then out, then down.

And after fifty-one times and one hundred and three minutes, her fear had been replaced by strength. By skill. By trust in herself.

She did a little dance, there on the end of the board, pointing at the water and singing, "I'm not afraid you any more, inward."  And she meant it.

Then, after fifty-one tries, she worked on the reverse.  She slapped and she flopped and she never once completed it.  But every time, she would come up out of the water with a positive comment, "That hurt, but I'm not going to stop."  or "I felt my body getting closer!"

Because she was unable to complete the inward dive at practice that morning, she was ineligible to compete the dive that night, but nothing was going to stop her trying it during warm-up.  She was full of excitement and a tinge of anxiety as she waited for her age group to be called.  And when they were called, she was first in line for that high board.
It wasn't beautiful.  But it was perfect.  Absolutely perfect.

She beat her fears.  And her mama bear couldn't have been prouder.  I shed a few tears of my own that night.

Today?  Today she faces the reverse giant.  And I'll be there, cheering her on.

Linking up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.
Jenny Matlock

32 comments:

  1. Super fun! way to go. Awesome pics and a great lesson!

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  2. That's a wonderful accomplishment! Go Lily. We were at the dive meet last night with Ammon, and all I ever got was his splash! You're an amazing photographer!!

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  3. Fabulous photos! That first one is especially great. Love the action shots as well. And, way to go Lily!! Those are tricky dives, and what a great lesson to learn.

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  4. great pictures.

    great lesson for me, too. I got to get my kids more journals so that they can vent on paper. Works for me!

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  5. love the pics! i teared up silently cheering her on!

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  6. Good job Lily! We all need to remember that great quote by Emerson ... my mom's favorite. Great pictures!

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  7. What a great post. And way to go Lily for being persistent and willing to work on overcoming her fear.

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  8. Let's hear it for Lily and great courage! Not to mention perseverance and determination and hard work. She will get whatever she wants in life. Good job, mama!

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  9. I love it when kids find that inner strength and determination!!
    I am cheering for her as well!!

    The sillouette pictures are sensational!!

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  10. What a great "J" post! Personal and touching and inspirational!!

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  11. Beautiful. Yes, that is one of the greatest things about parenting. :)

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  12. The most important thing is she knew she could reply on you to help her work out her fear just by being near and encouraging her.

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  13. That's determination for you.

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  14. Smiles and hugs all around! I love your silhouette pictures. They are extra lovely! Thanks for sharing!

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  15. I was a diver from the age of 6 to my junior year in high school. I know that fear well! I remember my brothers intense fear of the reverse dive. I can still hear my Mom talking to him about it. What a brave little girl you have.

    No when we go to a pool with a 3meter board, I can see myself doing those dives and wonder how in the heck I ever did that:)

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  16. Wow, way to go Lily!!! That first inward on the diving board at home looks great! She'll have to show us her dives when we're down there in August! She's doing TONS better than I ever did in diving... I was a MAJOR CHICKEN!! :)

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  17. Sam was signed in... But it's really Heidi!

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  18. I love the water drip off her feet on the top photo.

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  19. What amazing pictures. wow.

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  20. This was such a lovely post Jen. Your girl has spunk. I'm feeling proud of her over here in Northern Canada.

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  21. Wow! She is amazing! Great job, Lily! I can't tell what's considered a perfect jump or not but I think she looks amazing in those photos :) If I had an encouraging mom like you when I was on the swim team, I would never have given up on swimming.

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  22. That is such brilliant determination. Well done to her :)

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  23. What an incredible gift you given your daughter -- the courage to try something hard and the knowledge that, failure at first doesn't mean failure forever. I struggle so much with this concept, so afraid to do something I might fail at. Again, you've given her a gift.

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  24. Bravo! Bravo!

    I loved this.

    You have taught this girl what it takes to survive in this world...never give up...no matter how bad you want to.

    Love the pictures and the message of this post.

    A+

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  25. I am so proud of your Lily!!! When I was eight years old I hit my head doing an inward dive. I did them for another fourteen years in competition, but never really got
    rid of the fear. Yet, I did my first inward somersault in a competition when the alternative would have been a fail dive. it took me forever to learn a reverse....those pictures brought up some old memories. Mine reverses were all from the one meter, until late in the game, at age 20, the rules changed and I had to do one, yep, from the three meter...in competition. Oh my gosh I can still feel the panic...and my pride when I did it. Oh hooray for Lily. Hooray, Hooray, Hooray.

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