Children Can Be Dangerous

“You know what’s funny?”

“What’s that?”

“You’re much older than I am, but I can swim much better than you can.”

If it wasn’t for those soulfully sweet and innocent eyes that have locked their gaze with mine, I would be more upset, but there is nothing malicious or taunting in the words, just an observation from my young friend.

Children are dangerous that way. They can be brutally honest, in the most disarming of ways.

He knows the water frightens me, and it never ceases to amaze me how sensitive and caring he can be. Numerous times this summer, he has come to the edge of the pool with his sword and declared himself to be my protector, which though maybe make believe, I am totally convinced.

Then there was the day he talked me into one of those holding your breath challenges. I went under for a whole two seconds, after I had just held him under for like 40 or something. I was hoping it would get me out of the game when he realized how lame I truly am in comparison, instead he turned to me with all seriousness and said, “I’m sure you can do longer than two. Maybe you can even get to ten.”

Who can argue? That day I held myself underwater for 24 seconds, voluntarily, because a ten year old believed I could.

Spending time with children is dangerous, I tell you.

“People wish to learn to swim and at the same time to keep one foot on the ground.” -Marcel Proust

Therein lies the problem with learning to swim, it requires letting go and trusting.

{insert Frozen sing-a-long soundtrack here}

I am well aware of the terror beating in my heart and racing through my brain, which I feel I am completely unable to control or to tame. It crowds out any logical thought processes and shutters out any hope of change. It has been my companion for decades.

Then a child with knowing eyes, looks at me and says, “Come on. Follow me,” as he swims for the deep end of the pool in search of sea creatures to explore and be rescued from.

Children can be dangerous that way. They are persuasively charming when they invite you into their world, a place where anything is possible.

And against all the fear-filled judgement of my situation, I think, “Yeah, just maybe it really is possible.”