Our eldest daughter had a swimming lesson on the weekend.
It's a big deal! She - like many little people her age - isn't too fond of getting water in her eyes......
As I watched her - my heart bursting as she sat so straight-backed and courageous on the pool step - surrounded by strangers and noise and splashes of water right into her eyes - doing her very best to do everything her teacher asked of her......
I was astonished to find myself blinking back tears.
Smell is powerful isn't it!
That chlorine transported me hard and fast back to a memory from my own childhood swimming lessons.
I recall loving the free time we had at the end of a lesson. "Free Time for 15 minutes" called by the teacher was like a song.....
There was one lesson when I thought those words had been called - and in I dived.
The most wonderful freeing feeling of silence and weightlessness - I could stay down there for a long time and often did.
When I finally emerged I was met with the teacher yelling at me and a sea of faces staring.
Free Time had not been called. I had been disobedient. There would have to be punishment.
"That'll teach her!"
And now - it teaches me how heavy and full and lasting the words of adults are upon children.
The responsibility of it.
We all have to experience the weight of these feelings at some time - there will always be a first time - so perhaps it wasn't that this teacher was particularly unkind, but that this was my first time sitting alone with such strong emotion......
So as I sat there by the swimming pool watching my big girl's brave face - I knew how much I wanted to protect my girls from those feelings - Knowing at the same time - that I can't... and perhaps, shouldn't.
But we can help them to move through them as gently as possible, can't we?