We were swimming at a local pool featuring a pair of water slides which were accessible from a single tower. After watching a series of children enjoy the ride, I asked my eldest, “What do you think? Do you want to give it a try?”
“Do you think I can?”
Kiddo swims like a fish. By that I mean he can paddle quite effectively with his whole body underwater, but flops and flails about if he attempts to swim with his head above the surface. While delaying answering, I noticed that the pool depth at the slide area wasn’t any deeper than where we were. My eldest favors his father in personality, but even more so in appearance. No one will mistake him for one of Santa’s elves. Standing in the pool next to me, his head and shoulders were well above the water.
“Sure honey. When you get to the bottom, all you have to do is put your feet down.”
“I don’t know…” I could tell he was nervous about the slide’s height.
“I’ll go with you!” I said.
That was all the convincing it took. Splash. After struggling for a few moments to escape the water slide’s current, Kiddo took a breath, planted his feet, and smiled as he said, “let’s do it again!”
Kiddo saw his brother watching and asked, “Can LT go down the slide too?”
I try to limit my quasi-endangering of offspring to less than one child per day (most days). “LT has to learn how to swim first.” LT isn’t tall enough for the slide either, but it got the hubby and I thinking. It was probably time to enroll LT in swim class, and Kiddo could likely use a refresher as well.
The day of their first class, Kiddo went with his instructor to one end of the pool while his brother followed me to another. By coincidence, LT and his teacher share the same name, but rather than this endearing the teacher to LT, LT went the way of TV’s Highlander (“in the end, there can be only one!”) From the moment he stepped on the swim platform, it was clear he did not trust this person who dared assume his name. He began screaming as I tried to sneak away, “I scared! I scared!” and LT’s voice carries (so now you know what that sound was on Monday).
I froze, looking at his instructor in alarm, but his teacher hadn’t flinched. I guess when you teach pre-schoolers you get used to stranger danger (now scratching off children’s swim coach from my list of career opportunities). He asked LT to put his face in the water and blow bubbles. LT could do that! Splash. Bubble. Bubble. Spit. Splash. “Okay, LT, try again. This time without getting the water in your mouth.”
LT was happy mimicking a drinking bird and forgot his fear until his instructor asked him to try something else. The screams resumed. We only made it through the class with our sanity intact by stopping and repeating the bubble/breathing exercise in between each new challenge (but where was the first place he wanted to go after class? Another pool).
This summer hasn’t just been trips to the pool or family vacations. I’ve also been querying. I enjoy being a member of the independent authors’ community, but the idea of becoming a hybrid author is appealing too. A cash advance or additional help in the form of a professional final edit and cover design would allow me a larger budget for promotion. I don’t mind reduced royalties provided it is with the right partner. I decided to test the waters by putting myself and this manuscript out there.
Pushing the send button on the first query was terrifying, but as time passed I found myself feeling rather zen about the whole process. I’ve published independently before and can do so again if that proves best for me and my work. I know I can choose not to move forward with them as easily as can with me. When the response arrived (which was very supportive, but a pass), I accepted it for what it was – a step in the process and a learning opportunity (que sera, sera). I took a breath and hit send on another query.
“A journey of one thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
“The first step is to just breathe.” – Bobby Umar