Yesterday I had the BEST day ever at the pool.
I have had many great days at the pool, which is at my gym. I swim there twice a week as part of my triathlon training, and have enjoyed many small victories there over this past year as I build up my yardage. Each time I up my yardage by another 500 yards is a huge milestone for me.
But yesterday, I experienced a milestone of different kind. Yesterday my 5-year old daughter, A, was able to go swimming for the first time in her life.
Since A's had a tracheostomy since she was 4 months old, she was not allowed to be in water. Submerging her in water would have drowned her almost instantly, as the trachestomy, or breathing tube, led directly to her lungs. Bathtime was precarious; I never was able to fill the tub, instead having to let the water run without the drain plugged in, and I had to be careful in leaning her head all the way back while rinsing her hair, lest water get down her tube. Not only had she never been in a full bathtub or pool, but she'd never been in the ocean, in the shower, or even run through sprinklers. Water was just our enemy.
Last year, she got the trach removed, which was a godsend. However, she still had the hole in her throat (called a stoma) where it had been, and her doctor wanted to wait a year before closing it up, just to make sure she did ok. Things got easier, not having to lug around gear for the tracheostomy, but we still had to avoid water submersion, since there was a hole in her throat. We did take her to the beach for the first time last summer, but the sand was as far as she got. No ocean for her.
Two weeks ago A had the surgery to close the hole. And while we had complications post-surgery, she is home now and doing great. Yesterday was the day to finally take her to the pool and fulfill my dream of having her join me. She LOVED it! There was pure joy on her face the entire time. I can't even imagine what it must have felt like for her....for the first time in her life, she was entirely wet! She was either in my arms the whole time or bobbing in her lifejacket (with me holding her, of course, as she doesn't know how to blow bubbles when her face gets wet). She kicked her legs, splashed her brother, and loved it when I spun her around fast so her legs trailed behind her.
We are getting swim lessons for her this summer, and I can't wait for the first one. My daughter, the swimmer! I waited a long five years for this day, and experiencing her bliss in the water yesterday did not disappoint. I look forward to many more lazy pool days with her this summer.