She went into the water in the 6's. I gave her a fist full of jellybeans and sent her off with some serious trepidation. I watch her like a hawk when she's in the pool, it's not as if she could crash and I wouldn't notice.
Oh... I noticed alright.
It was in the middle of a length. This is Rowan's first lesson set in the grown up pool. That cold temperature does a real number on her; fighting to keep her body temperature up, and fighting to stay afloat sends her spinning down into hypoglycemia nearly everytime.
She wants so much to be just another kid. Able to scream and splash and have fun.
Like I was saying... it was in the middle of a length, and for whatever reason she plunged deep under water. I don't know if it was the way she held her head, or if it was the lethargic posture of her body. I knew. Maybe it was the expression on her face, through the water, her little goggles on her head, and her entire face squinched in a knot. Squinched isn't a word: I just made it up. I'm the sole caretaker of a type one diabetic child, and one of the benefits is that I am now entitled to randomly add words to the English language. Deal with it... move on.
She breaks the surface of the pool, I see her chug for air. Her face goes back under. I'm standing at the pool edge at this point, less than six feet away. I'm wishing I had a change of dry clothes because I have a sneaky suspicion I'm about to be diving in.
She begins to sink. So does my heart, and every ounce of air in my lungs rushes out. She's afraid, and it's written all over her face. I am too; is it written on my face?
That swimming instructor, bless her freaking wonderful heart, she always stays with Rowan, at the minimum she's at least within arms reach. Usually closer. She's never been asked to, or instructed to. She just does. Without griping or complaining, she stands by my baby girl as she learns the front crawl. People either get this disease, or they don't. I don't know who this girl knows that's a diabetic, but she knows someone, because she "knows". She knows you can't turn your back on a T1D child swimming in a deep cool pool.
I see Rowan's arms stretching to reach the surface, all she wants to do is get above water. She knows how to, her muscles want to, in theory she's more than capable... but her blood glucose won't let her, because she simply just doesn't have the energy.
Without a word, and oh so calmly, that wonderfully empathetic swim instructor playfully plucks Rowan to the surface "You're feeling tired, aren't you?" Rowan replies "yea" kind of sheepishly.
She was such a rebel sitting on the pool edge, water up to her knees, goggles pushed up on her forehead, chugging a juice box. We know it's not allowed. But don't start with me... go ask the other lifeguard: "Just let the lady give her kid a juicebox and for the love of God, don't tell her she can't! And avoid eye contact!"
It was an interesting experience, but we survived yet another evening of swimming lessons. God bless all the compassionate people in the world who step up to help another without having being asked for their assistance. Thank you for making this world as happy as it is. It wouldn't be the same without you.