Priceless Dreams

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Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 12.51.47 AM“Aunt Laurie, you make all my dreams come true!” The look on Zoe’s face was priceless. Her smile beaming from ear to ear as she arrived at my condo in the back seat of my sister’s SUV. What mighty expectations coming from my 6 year old niece. I felt undeservingly blessed that such overwhelming joy was being directed squarely towards me!

Thinking back, my 3 year old injury has kept me from physically playing with Zoe for half her life. She’s more use to seeing me flat on my back in bed while my sister, Karin, warns her, “Make sure not to hurt Aunt Laurie!”  Although my body felt fragile, my spirit did not! I wanted Zoe to know that. I’d always try to make our time together as fun as possible by batting a balloon back and forth from my bed,  or watching Elmo videos together on You Tube. This was not the relationship I had envisioned or wanted with my niece. That’s why this gorgeous, August day was so special.

Today was an exciting day, not only for Zoe, but also for me. It would be the first time Zoe and I would ever be in the pool together. Physically active, side by side.

The day was gorgeous. Prestine pool water reflected the deep, blue sky. Zoe flopped in the warm Texas bath  water, anxious to show me how she could swim in her mermaid tail. My dad, sister, and I followed. We all hung out for an hour enjoying the day and each other. After a while, I thought I might as well get a little exercise in since this is where I do my usual pool workouts.  I love to pool walk! Opening my body up from a sitting to standing position really feels great. My dad helped me Velcro 7.5 pounds of weights to each leg.  The weights strengthen my legs while giving my feet traction on the bottom of the pool. As I started my usual jaunt from one side of the pool to the other, my niece suddenly let out the highest pitched shrill I’ve ever heard. With arms splashing and lots of jumping Zoe screams, “Mommy! Aunt Laurie’s walking! Aunt Laurie’s walking!!!” It was he first  time she’s seen me upright. Her enthusiasm combined with her pride and love for me was palpable. The outright joy she felt for me was beyond words.

To top that off, my next pool activity was the backstroke. I started swimming my first lap, as usual. As I was moving through the water, I could feel a figure swimming to the left of me. I realized it was Zoe. How cool! I was flattered that my niece was trying to be just like me! Once we got to the end of the pool, I challenged her to a race. She wholeheartedly accepted! Zoe is a fairly strong swimmer for a 6 year old so  I figured she had the upper hand.  After unconciously beating her several times, but not by much, I accused her of letting me win. She promised me that was not the case, and that I was winning on my own volition. 12 laps of friendly competition finally brought both of us to exhaustion.

What a great sport, not to mention a great kid! That bright, August day, Zoe made all of MY dreams come true!