Five of my boys started swimming lessons last week. Yes, five.
Their lessons were staggered throughout the afternoon, and I sat next to the pool for several hours and watched each one have his first lesson. One of the swimming teachers looked over at me at some point and said, “You’re spending your whole day here!”
Despite what might have looked like inconvenience to others, I really enjoyed being there. I felt nostalgic.
It’s been about 17 years since our oldest three children took swimming lessons. That was followed by years of many other activities and lessons, with me sitting at the sidelines watching and usually supervising younger siblings at the same time.
There were years of going shopping and to the dentist and everywhere else with all of the kids in tow. Many years. I didn’t get out alone too often, but while there were times that I longed for more ‘me’ time, lots of togetherness was the reality of our lives. It was necessary and appropriate and something I really enjoyed.
Time moves on. The children referred to for so long on this blog as ‘the littles’ are now almost 8, 9.5 and 11. They’re old enough and independent enough that they don’t need me to set up play dates . Ds9 and ds11 both can get to their extracurricular activities without me accompanying them; ds7 can go to his friends’ homes without me walking him there hand in hand.
As I sat by the pool, I felt wistful for those days of going everywhere with the kids. Yes, I very much appreciate that it’s now possible for me to take naps and go places on my own without too much wrangling of my schedule. I appreciate that Israel has safe public transportation and that has created opportunities for independence that our children in the US didn’t have. But I kind of miss those years of everyone piling into the car and just being there with them – those times created lots of warm memories.
Someone said to me at the second lesson, “You’re not going to watch your seven year old every time, are you? He just needs you to be here the first time.” Sure, I could send him in on his own now that I facilitated the first lesson. It’s not that he needs me to be there, but that he wants me to be there. I want to be there for him.
I’m so glad to have this opportunity to sit and watch my boys as they do something new, watching them overcoming their hesitations and then seeing the flashing smiles appear on their faces.
Our kids grow up so quickly – enjoy every moment!