Almost a year ago, we moved into our house. This amazing house with a glorious pool in the backyard. Even today, Andi talks about her house with affection, or rather, appreciation. Soon after we moved in and the dust settled, we had Andi start private swim lessons in our backyard. Without the distraction of others around her, she would be better able to hear the instructor, and pay attention to the lesson. Up until that time, we had never put Andi's head completely under water. Never. Not washing her hair in the tub, not by accident, not at all. Enduring three sets of ear tubes to cease her chronic ear infections, I was a bit too cautious on getting her ears wet. First and only kid, let alone one with complex medical issues, don't judge. I was simply sick of all the antibiotics, the Dr's appointments, and that made me hyper-hyper aware of the things I could do to prevent more of the same.
So, I believe it was on her second lesson with "Gene-Gene, the swimming machine" where he got her to put her head under the water, with ear plugs! Sadly, we only had a month of lessons before the pool had become too cold for her to continue through the fall. With her BAHA surgery, we were a bit delayed in starting back lessons while we awaited her abutments to heal and be cleared for water. Once we started back though, the growth was obvious. Her maturity, her strength, her determination and her love of the water all seemed to roll into one perfect celebration.
This is the first time Andi has ever actually swam. Filmed last week.
Then this afternoon, while we spent the day in the pool, I filmed this to showcase the monumental (to me) realization of how incredibly far she has come and how she has shattered another milestone. She seemingly prefers being underwater these days. Probably one place where her proprioceptive sense is most easily actualized.
Celebrating Andi Bean is easy to do, but as we get further and further away from those dark days we were forced to endure, it's important for us to pause to celebrate these little milestones -- especially when they also fill her full of joy.
I see Andi playing around in the pool. Learning how to swim underwater to collect fish or rings at the bottom of the pool; walking hand over hand along the edge of the pool to deeper water; jumping up and down in the water; and I recognize my youth in these instances. It instantly flashes me back to my summers spent at the pool with my friends, where we spent all day, every day in the pool. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there were few other places to find us. So, seeing Andi do things I used to do in the pool, just further fills me with joy. Not only because I see her progressing with her love of the water, but it reminds me of a simpler time in my own life. I love that we're able to give her a childhood that mirrors one of my own, that is filled with joy, discovery, learning, growth and one incredibly zesty personality that is really starting to blossom. She's not just a mermaid... she's a mini me.