We made a brief trip to the pool yesterday, our first visit this season. You may recall that last July 4 was the first time M. and C. jumped off a diving board. M., who is always cautious, took several minutes to get the courage up to take her first plunge, and only, finally jumped when I threatened to throw her off myself. C., of course, took right to it.

So I was interested to see how, mostly, M. did on her first trip in 2013. As soon as we got to the pool they both wanted to go straight to the board. I made them both show me that they could swim far enough to get from the middle of the pool to the side without help. Once they satisfied that requirement, I turned them loose. M. went right to the board, waited her turn, and not only jumped but made sure to let her friends know exactly what her jump was going to be and that they were watching her performance. She jumped, swam to the side, and went right back to the line.

I watched C. carefully. Although she did fine swimming on her own last year, this was her first time in a pool she couldn’t touch the bottom of in almost ten months. I didn’t want her freaking out when she couldn’t touch to get herself righted and swim to the side. I shouldn’t have worried. She did fine.

Both girls spent about 15 minutes going off the board over-and-over. I put L. in a floaty and played with her in the 5-foot water so we could keep an eye on the sisters. Which was weird. I mentioned how great it was during our spring break trip to just put the girls into a pool where they could all either touch or be safe with flotation devices on their own and watch from the side. This was like that only cranked up to 11. After making sure the big sisters could handle themselves in the deep end, I turned them loose and trusted both in them to be aware and be safe and in the lifeguards to be there if they got themselves into trouble.

Which is kind of a theme for my life. For nine years I’ve had to be on constant, careful alert. For the first time I’m able to relax that sense of vigilance a little. That’s true at the pool, when we go to a park, and just about any time we’re not in a large group of people and they can be free to roam on their own. I still have my head on a swivel, making sure I’m know where each girl is. But I don’t have to be right next to them, at least the two big sisters, guiding and supporting constantly. We’ve helped them learn to swim and given them instructions on how to be safe. They are old enough and skilled enough to not need me with them at all times.

I’m not done yet, but this is another sign this stage of my life is beginning to wind down.