Learning to Swim

I

Starting out,

We don’t know how to swim.

Eventually, we learn.

Most often with a guide, but

Ultimately, the task is ours,

And we learn to keep ourselves afloat.

II

In youth,

We rely on our parents,

Watching over us,

Jumping in and playing with us.

Making sure that we are unafraid.

We learn to love the water.

III

Time flashes forward,

We’re scared and hesitant,

Our parents get into the water with us,

Teaching us to move our arms in circles,

Causing the water to ripple.

We learn that our actions,

Will make our own tumultuous tide.

Our parents remain,

Making sure our heads stay above the surface.

And we lose the fear of ever losing their safe embrace.

IV

Suddenly their hold loosens,

That safety disappears and we float off on our own.

The immensity is frightening at first,

But we see that,

Despite the water splashing in our faces,

We stay with the tide.

Our parents stand back and watch us swim.

V

Once we’ve conquered that,

Then comes the hardest part,

Our parents disappear from the shoreline,

Yet, we’re older and our bodies are stronger,

We’ve been here before.

We look around and don’t see our parents,

Not this time,

Not anymore.

VI

You start out tentatively and,

Gaining confidence, begin to splash,

Making your own waves.

You’re not afraid, not anymore,

You no longer need your parents’ safe hold,

Because you’ve learned to swim.

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