The pool isn't open regular hours until next week, as I may have complained about already. So yesterday I decided to take the boys at 4:00 when they opened and just had Jeremy meet up with us when he got off work. This is our 4th year having a pool membership and I have NEVER taken them in late afternoon where Jeremy could meet up with us. It was a first. While we were at the pool, Jeremy wanted to see if Evan was tall enough to ride some of the slides. He was about an inch too short. But if they are shorter than the rule, they can take a swim test and get a special band for the summer that allows them to do the slides.
At first, we suggested to Evan to take the test. He adamantly said, "NO!"
We even watched a girl, probably the same age but a little shorter, take the test and pass it! But he still would have no part in it.
After some negotiations (read = bribery), Evan decided to take the plunge. I had to bribe him with three stickers on his reward chart and ice cream.
*You know, I have mentioned it many times on here that Evan definitely takes after me. He is NOT a risk taker. He is a perfectionist. And you add those two things together and you miss out on a lot of fun things during life along with probably having a higher percentage of surviving until adulthood ;-). If I don't think I can positively, 100% accomplish a goal, I will not do it! And if I am just the least bit uneasy in a situation (which is about 99% of the time) I will back out! I have no problems being a wuss! I'm okay with it! But I don't want my boys to be! I don't want them to miss out on the fun they could have if they would just let go and try new things.*
I have to admit, I wasn't quite sure if he could pass the swim test or not. And I NEVER encourage him to do something that I don't think he can do. But last night, I stepped out on that ledge too and I was scared that he wouldn't be able to finish the test. Immediately I started prepping my "at least you tried" speech in my head. But I soon realized, as cliche as it may sound, God had the right life guard at the right time give Evan his swim test.
This life guard, seeing how hesitant Evan was, was so patient and gentle with him. He allowed Evan to get in the pool and move slowly around to get his bearings. Somehow he knew that Evan just needed to get comfortable in a new environment before throwing him into the test. He was so amazingly patient and explained exactly how the water from the slide would push against him when he would trying to move toward the slide but would help propel him from the slide when he was going with the current.
Evan hesitantly entered the pool but quickly his eyes widened up when he realized he definitely could touch the bottom of the pool, because apparently his mom, dad and lifeguard were all lying to him before he entered the pool.
The lifeguard, after hearing me mentioned he has had swim lessons, started asking Evan about his swim lessons and reassured him that it was just like swim lessons.
This lifeguard was not that old, maybe 20 at the oldest. And yet he had a beautiful way with Evan. I was getting choked up just watching their interaction.
If Evan would have had a different lifeguard, with a different personality, at that moment, he may have never passed that test this summer! Most people are so impatient and try to have you just do the task at hand, which stresses me out! So I stood there and prayed then thanked God for the right person at the right time. This lifeguard did not rush nor seemed to be rushed to get through the test.
He sat Evan on the end of the slide and made sure he was ready and reassured him that he would be right next to Evan the whole time. Then encouraged him to go.
Evan jumped in hesitantly and started swimming (doggy paddling actually but I will take it ;-)) and as he neared the 3/4 mark of the test, you could see his eyes widen and the excitement filling his face of knowing he could finish!
And he did! He finished! And earned the "special swim test band"
The lifeguard acted just as excited about it as we did. And made it a big deal that Evan got to put his name in the "all star VIP notebook."
At this point, the lifeguards were swapping stations, and this lifeguard took a moment before his next station and instead of rushing off, he made sure that Evan knew how awesome he did and even praised Evan by using Evan's name. He made sure to tell him how much fun he will have on the slides and to find him later to tell him if he enjoyed himself. We didn't see him after that and I was bummed because I wanted to give this lifeguard a hug and tell him what a blessing he was to my son!
God definitely cares about the little stuff and I know He had Evan in mind and timed all of this perfectly. Out of the 30 or so lifeguards on duty last night, the perfect one helped my son build a little bit more confidence.
My little man! And the funny thing, he wanted me to go down the slide with him for the first time. Ummm kid, I don't do slides, they scare me! HA! But these slides actually weren't that bad and I was more then happy to race him for the very first time on the big kid slides!
After a few runs with either me or Jeremy, we left the slides to grab a bite to eat but promised him that we could go back afterward. Him and I finished our food first, so I suggested that I could take him back to the slides but I would just watch him from the bottom. At first this was unacceptable but when I assured him that I would be exactly next to the life guard he agreed, a little reluctantly.
He then proceeded to go down the slide, over and over and over again. He was having a blast! The joy in his face was priceless. Then it happened.
He accidentally slipped and headed down the slide before the lifeguard gave the signal to go. And the top lifeguard blew her whistle to let the bottom lifeguard know that there may be a collision at the end of the slide. I didn't actually know what happened until after the fact. But knew something was wrong when I saw Evan's face at the end of the slide. He approached the water as if he was going over a cliff.
I immediately helped him out of the water and asked if he was okay. He told me we was okay, but not very convincing. At this point, the lifeguard got my attention and explained to me why the top lifeguard blew her whistle. But she insisted it was no big deal and that it happens often and really the only reason they blow their whistle is to alert for the possible collision at the end.
So I jokingly asked Evan if went before he was supposed to. And the tears came gushing. My little perfectionistic rule follower. He was blubbering about how he didn't mean to and slipped and couldn't stop and how sorry he was that he didn't do better.
As soon as the bottom lifeguard heard how shaken he was, she tried to lighten the mood and joke with him that it was no big deal and that he didn't do anything wrong. This just made Evan lose it even more. And of course, he didn't want to go back up the slide because he thought he would be in trouble with the top lifeguard. I convinced him to go up to the top so I could have the life guard explain to him that he wasn't in trouble.
As soon as the top lifeguard started smiling and telling him it was okay, he lost all sense of emotional control. I tried to get him to go down the slide again, but he refused and I didn't push. Although, when Jeremy joined us after he and Carter were finished with dinner, he convinced him to try the slide one more time. This time the lifeguard had to tell him to go 3 three times. Evan kept looking at her to make sure she really meant that he could go. He did but started crying again after they were done.
So needless to say, our time at the pool was over. He requested we go home and that he didn't want to swim anymore. I was just heartbroken. What was such a joyous and exciting occasion turned so quickly into a sad time. It makes me rejoiceful that he is such a rule follower but it truly broke my heart that such an incident destroyed him!
So we headed home, but first he wanted his reward - a mint oreo blizzard ;-). Because ice cream makes every situation better!
Keeping my fingers crossed that this will not scar him and that the next time we head to the pool, he will want to do the slides! I'm pretty sure from here on out, the poor lifeguard on top will have to tell him 5 times to go before he will. He will check and double check for permission to slide! What an emotional roller coaster! How can one event bring so much excitement, pride and heart break? Have you ever had a moment with your children that was so joyous in the beginning but turned sour? Please share, would love to hear about it!