For two years now, every time we get in the pool, my son clings to me like a leach and will not unwrap his arms and legs from my body for anyone or anything.  If I try to pry him off of me, he starts fussing and downright screaming at some points. 

This summer, he has begun to release the strong hold and allow a small amount of air to come between him and me.  He has jumped into the pool (into my arms) a couple of times and has, after much fuss, floated on a pool float by himself for a while.  He has gotten more comfortable with playing on the steps of the pool and in very shallow water.  However, he still says he is ready to go home after only being in the pool for a few minutes.

After much cajoling, he has started kicking his feet, but only if I am holding him tight and his upper body is completely wrapped and clung to me.  He says, “Hold me tight, Momma!”  I keep reassuring him that the float vest he is wearing will keep his head above water and he can float on his own. 

Until yesterday, he did not believe me.  Finally, yesterday, with the help of his daddy, he successfully allowed someone else (his daddy) to hold him in the pool and was brave enough to transfer from his daddy to me with only one hand.  I decided to not grab him and allow him to get close enough to cling to me and instead pulled him around the pool with my one hand while he floated on his own.  At first, he fussed and freaked out a little.  But as we made the second lap, he exclaimed, “This is fun!”   He was kicking his feet and there was a huge smile on his face.  I was so proud of my son!!

Eventually he wanted to go back to the steps and rest.  After playing on the steps for a little while, it was time to get ready to leave.  He wasn’t ready to go!  He wanted to “swim” some more.  After trying to figure out how to let go of the side and step off of the last step into the 3 foot water, he decided to get out and jump in to me.  When he did, once he was in the water, I released one of his hands and shook him off of my other hand.  To his surprise and amazement, he was floating, ON HIS OWN!  I backed away and allowed him to float and kick on his own.  He played happily, with a huge smile, for a few minutes.  After splashing himself in the face and swallowing a small amount of water, he began to panic and I rescued him and took him to the side.  He still didn’t want to leave, but it was time to walk home.

I must have told him ten times how proud I was of him for “swimming” on his own.  Proud of him for being brave enough to try it and trust that the float vest would assist him.  Proud of him for taking a chance.

I have had the pleasure of helping a couple of people begin their journeys to healthier lives.  I have and continue to be so proud of them!  However, I will say that the process of helping someone begin their journey is very similar to the process of teaching my son to be more comfortable in the water.  Most people want to try a packaged diet plan and “see what the plan can do for them.”  I see this as staying on the steps and playing in the water, but at a safe distance from the deep end of the pool. Instead of learning about nutrition and taking a chance to conquere the unhealthy habits on their own, they cling to a diet plan and choose to stop the plan at the first sign of discomfort.  When the diet plan has not worked, they come to me for help. 

It takes a great deal of bravery and trust to grab my hand and begin the process to changing your life.  However, once you take a chance and jump into the water, I am here to help, teach, encourage, and even rescue you, if you get in over your head.  You have to trust the process and trust that, if you are determined to achieve your goals, YOU WILL!!  Take a chance, be brave, and release yourself from the “stairs.”  Jump in and swim!

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