The pads of my toes grind against the pebbled grit of the diving board. My heels are bisected by the edge–one half squelching off into thin air, the other half rooted to the pebbled grit. My arms swing up. Swing down. My back arches, testing the spandex limits of my suit. The crown of my head snaps backward, a blunt object of traumatic force assaulting the ions, pollen, and sun motes of air between here and there. There. The undulating surface of blue chlorine, rushing toward me unseen as I attempt this first back dive, an undertaking of bravery so beautiful that its grace of child-trust takes my breath away as much as the shock of cold water on my fingernail beds that hit first, then the tails of my braids, then the back of my head, then the small of my back as I back-flop into the pool. Deep breath and then my nose goes under. Hold. Exhale.
The pads of my fingers wrap around a finger the size of a shoelace, a wet pretzel, a pencil. This little finger strains to break away, strains to explore the world of a field of dandelions yellow and white. With a final sweaty tug, she launches away from my hug-circumference of a world that has kept her contained for fourteen months of life. She doesn’t look back, but I look forward. Toward the kindergarten bus stop. Toward teachers who won’t gift star stickers just for being a precious slip of a soul. Toward the dates with boys who drive at speeds I won’t condone in cars I don’t own. Toward pillows wet with tears I can’t distract by a dandelion.
Deep breath and my heart goes under. Hold.
On days like this, when I can only squeeze in a moment of writing between deep breaths, I am ever so grateful for the inspiration provided by The Gypsy Mama, a lovely writer, on Five Minute Fridays. Visit to read other Five-Minute thoughts on Deep Breaths or join in with your own contribution!