“Don’t go near the water. Stay away from the water. You could fall in and drown,” they told her.
She found her father one sunny morning, gazing across the water. “Don’t fall in, Daddy! You could drown!” He turned toward her with smiling eyes. “Want to know a secret?” he asked.
Of course she did.
He took her little soft hand in his big rough hand and led her into the water. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “I’ve got you.” He picked her up when it got too deep…and she was afraid, a little bit.
“Lie back, he said. “You will float.” She lay back, but when the water reached her ears, she sputtered, tensed and sank. He caught her, laughing. “Try again.” She did. She could feel his hand on the hollow of her back, “I won’t let you sink. Relax. Relax.”
She floated, relaxed; his hand on the hollow of her back. Then his hand was not on the hollow of her back and still she floated. The sun was warm on her face and she could see light even through her closed eyelids.
It was wonderful.
“I will teach you to swim,” her father said, as he carried her back to shore. “So you can go places in the water. But if you ever get too tired in your goings, remember the secret; relax and float.
And you will never drown.”