Posted by: msundermier | September 4, 2012

That’s My Daughter In The Water

Most parents sent their kids back to school in recent weeks (in fact, today is National Back to School Day!), and with it came the common bittersweet feelings of watching your baby take one step closer to becoming all grown up.  Oddly enough, those feelings didn’t come for Mary and me last week when we dropped Maddison off for her first day of 1st grade.  Our daughter had already squeezed our hearts and made us wistful while out on the water earlier this month.  Let me share…with video too, of course!

In early August, Maddison came to us and said she wanted to try water skiing.  Mary and I kept our giddiness thinly veiled and then quickly darted off to Water Ski World to pick up a pair of training skis.  A few days later, we were off to the houseboat to work on this new challenge together.  When a kid learns to ski an adult sits in the water with them to help handle their skis, give instruction and keep them calm.  That was going to be my role so you see, I was going to be an invaluable piece to Maddison’s skiing success…or so I thought.

The experience hardly required my “expertise.”  She popped up on her second try and took off like a pro.  This left me alone in the middle of the lake, watching her image shrink into the horizon.  I could hear her excited shrieks and the cheers of her Mama, Cousins and Godparents in the boat. Suddenly it occurred to me that I was the farthest person from her skiing success.

As I was bobbing in the water alone with the caution flag and my thoughts, I realized that this was a classic parenting moment.  Being a parent is rarely about participating in your child’s exciting life moments alongside them.  When they are babies, they let you only by necessary proxy.  As they get older and take steps away from us, we see that our job is to the lay the foundation and hand them the tools to build their own successes.  We don’t get to rush out onto the football field with them at their first big football game or be a fly on the wall at their first real job.   As badly as we want to do those things, we instead get to do the gritty un-glamorous job of preparing them to take those defining moments head on with passion and confidence.

Maddison may not have needed Mary or I to learn to ski that day, but it turns out we’ve been creating the right environment for her to want to try for a while now.  Watching Maddison ski away from me suddenly became a very gratifying parenting moment.  Daddy had done his job of getting his baby ready and it was just time to watch her grasp the glory all on her own.

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Responses

  1. What a great experience for your entire family…I think she must have a bit of her dad’s skiing skills in her!

  2. Look at her go! What a girl and what a look of joy! Matt enjoy her while you can, they grow much too fast!

  3. I knew she would do it no problem;that one is fearless; give her a high five from Auntie Deb; tell her way to go; can’t wait to see her next feat

  4. Wow that was awesome! They grow up fast

  5. Too cool-she is such a doll ! You and Mary are great parents 🙂


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