To say our adoptive son Eli came to us, age 3, FILLED with fear is not an over exaggeration. He was a contradiction in terms. Little vision, but still wanting to copy his siblings...trembling, he would force himself to try things. Scared, but brave.
It all started one day when he expressed an interest in learning to drive his father's dirt bike. "Yes, you can learn to drive a dirt bike," I said, "but first you have to learn to swim. And you can't learn to swim if you cry every time the shower water touches your face." For those of you who are confused, that's mommy logic.
For 2 YEARS, every time I rinsed his hair, I would remind him that we were heading towards riding a dirt bike! When he finally had break through he would tell people, "My mom washed my hair and I didn't cry!".
Once we had that down, I thought we should move on to a private swim lesson or two. Eli now 5, "I'm not old enough for swim lessons". Me, "Yes you are! When Ben was your age he could swim laps in the pool!" Eli under his breath, "No. I think you're suppose to be 6 before you can swim!" Mom rolls her eyes.
He gets all around -- shallow end, deep end, water slide, with a float, without a float, jumps in and goes under -- you name it. He recently earned a LEVEL 1 swim certificate from Miss Allie at Little Fins Swim School and was awarded his own pair of goggles from mom and dad. To say he was excited was an understatement. "I jumped in and didn't cry!" He's said 100 times.
Similarly, Eli has had success in many areas. He puts about 100 miles a day on his bike sans training wheels. Now, when his brother first took those little stabilizers off, you would have thought we'd cut off Eli's arm. He REALLY liked those training wheels! These days, he's the only little one in our circle going up and down drive ways, jumping ramps, poppin wheelies. Sight or no sight, he hits the ramp as fast as he can, standing up on his pedals, lovin every minute of it. This afternoon, I heard him tell his friend Tyler, "I was NEVER scared to take MY training wheels off". Liar.
When our family was on our way to Dick's Sports to purchase Eli's swim goggles and reveling in his success, Eli proclaims loudly, "Hey mom, don't you remember when I was 4 and I was afraid to go under the water?" Me, "Yes sweetie, I totally remember that!" Eli laughing, "And then...you just pushed me under anyways!"
Proctor and Gamble says, "They weren't born Olympians". True deal, sometimes, they just need a little push.