The Water Is Wide

“The water is wide
I can’t cross over
And neither have
I wings to fly…”    – English Folk Song, sung best by James Taylor, of course.

Through teary eyes, I watched my son, Logan, swim the final meet of his senior year.  And when I say “teary eyes”‘ I hardly mean that a small, crystal tear fell gently down my rosy cheek. I ugly-cried.

My experiences with my two sons have always been quite different. When I took Jake, my older son, to Kindergarten his first day, I stood amongst a group of ugly-crying women. I whispered to a 1 yr. old Logan on my hip, “What is wrong with them?!” as we made a hasty exit. When Logan went off to Kindergarten four years later, I stood in the yard and cried as the bus drove away. I got it.

When Jake wrestled his last wrestling meet in 2010, I was happy for his success, happy he hadn’t broken his neck, and happy to not have to sit through another stinky meet. And so I didn’t expect the tears to flow today. I thought I would be thrilled about never again having to sit in a 110 degree natatorium, squished with strangers on hard aluminum bleachers, breathing in chlorine for 2 hours.  But I was not. Logan is my last, and with your last child, you see through different eyes.

In my teary eyes today, all I could see was the first time I took a two year old Logan to the YMCA for swim class. Very simply, I let go and he swam. He was a natural. He spent his childhood in pools, swimming on club teams before middle school. Other sports were played, and he even had some success as a cross country runner a couple of years ago, but he was always drawn back to the water.

I have always watched his swimming with a mix of confusion and envy. I, myself, am not a swimmer. I have a thing about anything going up my nose (so much for that career as a cocaine addict…) so I refuse to put my face in water. I swim like a pug. It’s unattractive. So I am perplexed about how he dives and glides and breathes and turns. As a runner, I am envious of his strength and his stamina. It’s pretty cool when your kid does stuff you can’t imagine doing.

And maybe that’s why today was so emotional for me.

“The water is wide
I can’t cross over
And neither have
I wings to fly.”

Logan is preparing to leave me.  He will dive and glide and breathe and turn through waters of this world, as I never dared. He will travel. He will see great things. He will experience so much, and while I am happy for him, I am sad for me.  Neither have I wings to fly. Soon, I will again let go, and he will swim.  Of course he will. He’s a natural.


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