Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Life Aquatic - Ava Edition

I don't know why it's been such a struggle, but I've been trying for several days now to write up this post and share these photos. Every attempt has been abandoned, every approach felt forced and false and quickly met the "delete" button. I guess this has been my first real bout of blog writer's block, but tonight we drive this little update across the finish line without fail.

Our girls both love the water, and - short of putting in a pool of our own - we've done our best to encourage and enable this natural affinity. Madison first swam across the deep end of my parents' pool under her own power and without the aid of a flotation device last August, a few months after turning 5. We were amazed, and proud, and from that moment on have watched her become an increasingly strong and confident swimmer.

Ava has been watching too. Watching her big sister dart across the surface of the water at will, face-down or gliding on her back. Watching her fly down the big white slide without regard to whether or not there was someone waiting at the bottom to catch her. Watching her submerge and then pop up on either side of that little line of buoys that separates where she can stand from where she can't, the distinction not really mattering all that much. Generally fearless, in pools and in life, I'm sure this has been particularly difficult for our emulative little 4-year-old.

And now it's over - because on Sunday, without warning and with significant encouragement from Madison, Ava ditched the pink noodle she'd been clinging to and conquered the deep end a whole year ahead of schedule, by our previous standards. We spent the better part of the afternoon watching her swim across and around this gleaming blue rectangle, cheering her on and enjoying her ear-to-ear smiles and palpable sense of accomplishment.

Whew, finally got this terrific milestone on the record. I guess it wasn't that difficult after all.

[There she goes... Ava officially joins the world of the swimmers.]

[Turnabout is fair play. Madison watches her little sister in the water, and realizes the deep end is no longer her exclusive domain.]

[Sisters, submerged, greet.]


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