I stepped in.
Sunk down into the blue embrace.
My skin shivered as the temperature dropped beneath the surface.
It was cold, but I had to do it.
I've never been one to flinch from such cold.
My daughter - - merely four - - splashing away.
Loving every moment.
My feet make their way. Not timid.
My toes ... always the big ones ... scuffed by the bottom.
Small splits. Skin raw. Rarely touched.
What is it about a pool in the summertime?
The smell of chlorine that lingers.
Wafts up and clings to your skin.
Stays in your hair.
My daughter holds her nose. Dunks her head beneath the surface.
By week's end she'll be jumping off the edge on her own.
Dropping down below.
Into that crystal blue embrace.
Arching her tiny body a bit.
Sometimes not holding her nose at all.
My butt touched the bottom, Mommy!
A laugh. A smile. A crinkle of her eyes.
So much changes over time. And yet so little does.
Her mother learned to float in a Florida pool.
A man named Bert. Her Nana's friend? A neighbor.
And here she is. Watching her daughter.
Observing the older cousins.
9. 7. and 6.
Learning. Watching. Taking it all in.
They spend their last night there. Splashing. Jumping.
Breaking that surface.
Who are you, the mother asks. Where is my daughter?
Here, the reply. I'm here.
Watch me jump!
And so I do.