He was last in line, his blue noodle which matched his swimsuit tied tightly around his waist. The kids in front of him were noodle-less. They had discarded them, tossed them to the instructor in the pool so they could use as a target to aim for when jumping off the diving board.
I stood a safe distance away, camera in hand, ready to capture his first leap off the diving board. This one is not so much of a leaper. He's more of an incher, taking baby steps in this big body that naturally assumes long strides while his fretful mind tries to catch up.
"I'll do it next time" I heard him tell the teacher, his hands resting safely on the noodle. I inched over and gently touched his shoulder, whispering so the other kids wouldn't hear: this is our last swim class, we won't be here next week so if you want to take the noodle off and jump, go ahead. If you don't that's ok too.
SPLASH went the first kid, then SPLASH went the second and third. He untied the noodle and threw it to his teacher in the pool. I gave him a thumbs up. "Mom" he said, just loud enough to hear "I'm a little scared". I reassured him. I knew he could do it. His teacher would be right there to catch him and the lifeguard was watching and I would jump in with all my clothes on if he needed me.
SPLASH went the fourth kid.
SPLASH went the fifth kid.
And then he jumped.