On this vacation something happened, a switch flipped inside her last night and our rules that have kept me feeling safe about her in the water no longer work. We are visiting Grandma and Grandpa. Their neighbor has a pool that is beautifully maintained and they never use it. They spend most their time traveling so they have always been generous enough to let our family use it whenever we are visiting. We have been in it for the past 5 days using all our normal rules. Last night we decided to go for a late night swim. Since the sun wasn't out and Daddy told Ella we were all out of "moon screen" she didn't have to put sun screen, hat or cover up on. Well, that started something.
After being in the pool for 30 minutes, Ella asked to take her floaties off. I gave in to the batting eyes and dimples and told her she could take them off for just a little bit. That was it, the flip was switched in her. She spent 10 minutes walking back in forth in the shallow end saying out loud :I'm such a happy girl!". Then, she told her Grandma "It's like I don't have cancer". I lost it when I heard that. I don't think I realized how much she craved that little bit of normalcy. Then she asked for a pair of goggles. With small instruction from Daddy she was under water and swimming from one person to the other. I can not tell you how many times she laughed and said "I'm such a happy girl!". How many kids stop what they are doing to let everyone know how happy they are? Josh and Grandma kept saying it was a miracle and her cousin Sara got back in the pool to play because everyone was smiling and having such a good time.
One of the hard things about this is finding a balance between keeping your child safe, and still letting them enjoy their life. One part of my head is screaming at me that she shouldn't be in the water all the way, and the other is crying tears of joy because she is so happy. Well, happy won. She was in the pool and mostly under water for almost two hours. We didn't go to bed until almost 11pm. As soon as she woke up she wanted to get back in the pool. Right now she is just waiting for breakfast so she can go. This will definitely be one of my treasured memories of Ella.