Ella

Little Girls are fearless

Sitting by the pool in Ventura writing. Two little boys approach with their uncle. One is about 10 the other, his little brother was about seven. The middle child hesitantly approaches the water. He carefully dips his toe in.

“Oh. Cold!” he says running to the other side of the pool.

The two boys walk around the pool for a few minutes procrastinating trying to figure out how to approach the water. The middle one has to conquer the pool by violently throwing the beach ball in the water as if to see if it would pop.

“Let’s conquer this fear by trying to bust this ball on the water or some other violent action,” one says, in my head.

“Let’s try to conquer this pool by throwing a missile on it to see if it will explode. I have the dominance,” says the other, also in my head.

It’s fun to imagine these tendencies in young boys. It’s just guttural maleness. They run around the pool a couple of times, still not approaching the water. The eldest is kind of hanging out for a bit. He finally dunks himself in the pool. Uncle sits by the pool sipping a plastic cup filled with something. I’m thinking it might be Jack and coke, the same thing that I’m sipping. Cool Uncle, that. They are sitting at the opposite end of the pool from me. As I look up I spy a tiny little girl of about three. Her tiny hands clasp the bars of the gate like a prisoner. She reaches out towards her uncle. She wants in.

“Go around,” her uncle says. “The gate is open on the other side.”

Little Ella is escorted by grandpa around to the opened gate. Ella is decked out in a little flowery green one piece with a lacy back. She has inflated pink floats attached to her arms. On her torso rests an inflated Care Bear. Ella runs barefoot towards the pool. She carefully descends one of the three steps and launchers herself in to the water. The shallow end of the pool is three and a half feet. Ella is only three feet tall. The water is a half a foot over her head, but Ella is like the honey badger. She doesn’t give a shit. She launches herself right into the water and starts to float around kicking her legs giggling. With her three year old voice she yells to uncle, grandpa and whoever is listening,

“Look I swimming. I swimming!” She says as she paddles through the water.

She’s amazing. Back and forth, back and forth she goes. Her three foot form just conquering that water. She doesn’t care that she can’t stand up in that water. She doesn’t care that the water is six inches over her head. She doesn’t sink once. She’s just paddling away, trusting her equipment, fearless. Ella is fierce. She’s headed towards the four foot deep part of the pool as grandpa and uncle look on. Grandpa and uncle encouraging her, calling her sweetheart. They are prepared to jump in if she needs, but they don’t look worried. Ella has been swimming since she was a baby.

“She took to the water like a fish,” her uncle told me. “She had no fear of the water like the boys did.”

Ella looks at me with curiosity for a minute then commences her swimming.

I bet she wonders, “Why isn’t that lady in this pool swimming like me. What is that she’s doing over there? Oh well. I’m just swimming along. See ya lady.”

Ella is blond and very fair. She has piercing blue eyes that look at you with intelligent contemplation as she squints into the sun. She doesn’t give a shit about the sun. She is kissed by the sun.

Ella gets out of the pool and runs to the hot tub. She dips her little feet in it. Grandpa’s over there. She gets in and sits for a while with her two brothers. She can’t stand up in their either, so she remains on the second step. After warming up for a bit she gets out and runs and grabs the pink ball that’s rolled under the table where I was sitting. She looks at me like, I’m taking this ball, do you mind? She grabs the ball and throws it into the pool, she carefully steps on the top step of the pool and launches herself in all the while giggling at grandpa. I have no idea what she’s saying, something about grandpa and swimming and oh look. Her grandpa jumps into the pool. He’s a sea monster. The boys swim fast towards the side of the pool fleeing grandpa laughing all the way. They jump out just in time. Little Ella, laughing her little arms and legs moving as fast as they can. She can’t keep up but she doesn’t give a shit about these boys and that monster. She’s hilarious and happy and screaming. She just gets to the shore when grandpa grabs her up with a big growl. She squeals with delight as he picks her up and carefully spends her around. She grabs grandpa in a tight hug.

It’s common knowledge that little girls, especially European American Blond ones, are neck and neck with boys until they reach puberty. It is at that point that they start to change, become fearful, try to dumb themselves down. I hope this never happens to Ella. What a little darling.

I wish I were like that. I learned a lot about fearlessness that day from three year old Ella. I wish we all could be like a three year old.

I wish I had learned to swim at three years old. Now at 56 it’s going to be hard because I have lost my fearlessness. Maybe if I get some of those pink floats with a care bear in front, perhaps I could learn to swim like fearless Ella one day. Maybe I can become fearless again as she is.