We were at Rehoboth Beach when I found out my mom had passed. My dad called me as I was coming back from my morning walk with Asher, and since he almost never calls (I always call him), let alone so early in the morning (it was before 6am West Coast time), I knew something was up.
I wasn't really able to have a moment to myself until later that day, when I put Asher down for a nap and headed to the local Y for a quick swim. As I did my laps, thoughts of my mom weighed heavily on my heart. So many fond memories that literally defined for me what it means to be a mother.
As I swam, I thought back to swimming lessons one summer - I forget how old I was, but I was young enough to be afraid of the water and old enough to be embarrassed of being afraid of the water. I had had a lot of time in the water by that point, so I wasn't scared of being in a pool, but I was scared of getting all the way horizontal, which you kind of need to be able to do if you're going to swim. My one foot kept wanting to reach for the bottom, just to know I was safe, and the swim instructor kept urging me to get horizontal.
It got to the point where he went to see my mom to talk it out with her. Again, I was old enough to be mortified that I was scared of the water, but still young enough that I couldn't quite bring myself to get comfortable in the water. I don't remember what my mom said or did that day, but I do remember that whatever it was, it helped me to overcome my fear of getting all the way horizontal. I learned to swim that day.
It is a special memory I will always hold in my heart because it so typifies my mother. She was not one for big words or big gestures, but her motherly presence helped this shy little kid get comfortable with scary things. A mother's love is a powerful foundation, isn't it? I have done so many scary things since then, and all of them are made possible in large part because of the same love my mother offered me that one summer day at the pool. Mom, I'm not afraid any more. You did your job. Rest in peace.