The Plunge: Taking A Dive Into Life

I have never dived off a high dive, scuba dived, sky dived or ski raced.  I don’t like heights, and can’t imagine anything worse than freefalling through space.  Aside from never having a career as an astronaut or stunt woman, it hasn’t really impacted me that much.  That is, until I saw my children taking WAY more chances than I ever have or anticipate doing in my lifetime.
My kids like to go fast and get to the top of things.  Since they were independently mobile they have consistently sought the highest point and the quickest route to get there.  My son has no fear.  I would say that it’s a boy-thing, but his sister is usually right in front of him in line for each adventure.  When Lily was very, very small she entertained the parents watching their young swimmers at Community Pool by decisively jumping off the high dive.  I think she was all of three or four years old, and she just jumped.  I nearly fell off the concrete steps, but she just popped right up and the crowd cheered.
My daughter started gymnastics at age 2 and continued for 12 more years, defying gravity and making me hold my breath at every competition.  She only stopped recently to focus on ski racing and proudly texted me in May when she was clocked going 60 mph on a radar gun.  On skis.
This week I watched her brother dutifully complete his swimming lessons each day at Community Pool, knowing that when the whistle blew he would be able to satisfy his yearning to fly.  Eagerly he scurried up the high dive ladder, trotted along the diving board and flung his body towards the lifeguard tower, only at the very last moment dipping his head down and diving into the deep end.  As if time was suspended, I flashed back to years earlier when his sister performed her own defiance of gravity, and held my breath until he surfaced.  Over and over again he jumped, soared and dove, each plunge pushing him further and further towards his goal of reaching the lifeguard tower, each leap delineating the courage that I will never have.
Watching my children dive into life, I have learned that I need to trust that they will be ok.  They might try different moves, from different altitudes, at different speeds, and sometimes they might even surface sputtering and out of breath.  But they keep pushing forward, determined to take it a little bit farther each time, and that makes me shine with pride.  What courage they have-courage that I’m still learning.  That, and how to not pass out from holding my breath until they come up for air.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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  1. Okay that photo is just plain awesome!

    We are going to be signing my daughter up for “pre-school” gymnastics classes this year. Hearing you talk about watching your daughter makes me wonder what I’m in store for! LOL

  2. Thanks for the comment, Katrina! I completely agree with the feeling of vulnerability…maybe when our kids are all out of the house and we don’t have to worry so much about them, we’ll take more chances! Thanks for following me!

  3. What a neat photo!
    When I was younger (before children!) I used to do daring stuff like that. But now that I’m a mom, I just feel too vulnerable. What if something happened to me? Can’t risk it! But yea, I have 4 boys…and they all are the daring type. I don’t have a reserved one in the bunch. I’m pretty sure they will all be doing crazy things like bungee jumping, jumping off cliffs, hang gliding, jumping out of planes. It’s going to drive me crazy when they are of the age that I cannot say NO to them (and that will be when they are up and out out of the house as adults!) My oldest son still lives at home at the age of 20, and I can still pull the “you live under my roof” card and say NO to something. Not that he always listens, but still. I seem to get a vote of some sort — or so I think!

    I’m a new follower of your blog 🙂 Was directed to your blog via VoiceBoks.

    They All Call Me Mom

  4. what a fabulous photo your husband took & a heartwarming post by you. So many of us moms feel this way, watching our kids it’s hard to sit back & let them take all these risks – we easily forge our reckless abandon when we were their age bc now we worry for their safety.

    I love how you talked about holding your breath until they come up for iar – perfect for everything don’t you think. I find myself holding my breath alot when it comes t my girls, haha!

    thanks for linking to show us your town hop – this was a great post to read!

  5. What an awesome post Ang! Reminds me of my kids … even though they are much younger than yours. But they also have no fears … and are very active in different sports. I’m sure as they get older I will do lots of breath holding as well!! (Especially with the ski racing!! My hubby is a ski coach and we all ski … FAST! I’m sure they kids will be ski superstars when they get older!)
    You had visited my site and offered a guest post. I’d love one!! Email me at and send me your ideas.
    Chat soon!!
    Ro 🙂
    Pop in for your Daily Mom-ME Moment –
    Thinking of a blog re-design?

  6. Thank you, Ang! I agree about bravery-I wonder if we all have that in our younger years, and then as we become responsible for child-rearing we lose it when we see all the truly scary things we did!

  7. Such a good read–we all can learn a lot from our children–diving into the unknown, without fear. That’s how they learn and expand their experiences in life. Wish I could be as brave in my life as well!

  8. Thank you! My husband took the photo-can’t take credit there. It is actually hard for me to watch him make those dives…I wish I had more courage to take jumps like that!

  9. First of all, great photo!!! Second, I am with you on the daring risk taking behavior. Ugh. But I love how you tied it in with lessons in life. As usual!

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