Friday, June 23, 2006

In and Out...

In and out, in and out, in and out. Elsa just could not make up her mind about the pool we were playing in during our overnight stay in Savanah last night. Since Tuesday we had been on the road, by 3 pm Thursday we knew we had had it and pulled off in Savanah, Georgia and started searching for a hotel - preferably one with a pool and two tvs in our room. We do not have tv here at home so we prefer not to have to fight over the remote with the kids the few occaisions we can watch it. It did not take us long to find one that met our few basic needs.

In a jiffy we had the knapsacks, diaper bag and extra pillows heaped on the couch in the sitting area of the hotel room and we were in line for the bathroom - suits in hand. Thankfully we only had three children with us so I knew we were in for a relaxing time in the pool. I tossed Hugo a little swimmer as I took my turn in the bathroom but while I struggled to squeeze into my pre-Elsa bathing suit we decided he should go ahead and leave with Bethany and Nathaniel. Once I won my battle with my bathing suit I quickly slipped the swimmer onto Elsa's chubby little bottom, slipped her dress off and scooped her up. She and I grabbed a few pool towels from the front desk and then hurried to join Hugo and Elsa's two older siblings.

I couldn't wait to play in the pool with Elsa - she had loved the water so much the last time and this trip we had left Emma, the pool hater, behind! This was going to be a blast - just three kids!

As I approached the side of the pool Elsa's arms tightened around my neck and Hugo turned to greet her. As he spoke I heard a gurgling sound from behind him and Bethany's head emerged as she spouted water like she was a whale and before Hugo could even move to reach for her, Nathaniel chose that moment to be brave and step out beyond his height - dissapearing from site. Given the smallness of the pool Hugo had them both out in a nano second, but for Nathaniel the damage was done. He clung to side of the pool bewailing his plight and Elsa's grip around my neck tightened even more.

I cheerfully ignored the pleas to leave the pool that Nathaniel made to no one in particular and began to descend into the twinkling blue depths but Elsa is no dummy. In fact, she is quite an observant child and had taken in all that had passed in that nano second. Still, I continued to labor under my delusion of a peaceful dip with only three children. Bethany - far from being intimidated by her near brush with drowning continued to try and stretch her 4 foot 3 frame above 4 feet 6 inches of water and Nathaniel continued to wail from the pool steps.

With Elsa's scream of terror as her feet touched the warm water I finally gave in to reality. I placed her on the side of the pool and scrambled after her as she tore into the furthest corner from the pool. Then she turned and I could see the shimmering water tempting her. She watched her Daddy playing with and alternatively rescuing Bethany. Nathaniel, realizing no one was going to acknowledge his whines to leave the pool, had decided to join the fun.

It was too much for Elsita and she toddled to the edge and reached her arms out to me and we desended the stairs again. But as her toes touched the water she squirmed and cried to be released back on solid land once more. I let her pull herself over the side and back onto the cement. Hugo and I both flinched as she dragged her knees across it and then stood up. I was especially tense as she bounded away and towards the chairs. She scrambled onto one and not content with the heart attacks she was giving me each time she toddled towards the pool's edge - she had to stand up and grin at me. Hugo kept telling me to relax, that he would watch her - but no one can watch a baby like a mother so I ignored him and continued to suffer my heart attacks.

Over the next twenty minutes she toddled back and forth and backed up towards the edge of the pool on her knees and carefully let her legs into the water as I watched her from the poolside and Hugo guided her from behind. Each time as soon as the water got to about her ankles she would scramble back out. Exasperated, I watched her and wondered - how many times is she going to do this before she finally relaxes and trusts Hugo to hold her in the water?

At that moment I was stuck by the similarity with what Elsa was struggling with and my struggles to trust God. Again and again Hugo patiently helped her into the pool and then back out while I, like her gaurdian angel, stood close by as back up. How many times has God stood patiently by; holding me as I dangle at the edge of dispair, afraid to let go of my problem and let God take care of it because maybe, just maybe, this time God won't take care of it? Yet just as Hugo stood there carefully and patiently helping her in and out of the pool, God is faithfully waiting for me to just jump in and let Him take care of me and what ever problem I am facing.

Eventually, Elsa did let me carry her into the pool and she relaxed as I gently swished her about softly talking to her as I reminded her that just 14 months ago she lived in the water and floated about in it for nine months. Now I just have to try and let go and relax, and let God gently guide me through life. Read more!