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Dear son: This is why I can't save you from hard things

The author's son Jack.
The author's son Jack.
Jessica Carney Wedding Photography

Editor's note: The following post originally appeared on Jessica Carney's blog, Where Every Day's a Circus. Carney, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote this message for her son, Jack. It has been shared here with the author's permission.

It's 8:40 a.m. and I ask again, "Jack, you need to turn that off and get in your swimming trunks." Reluctantly you go to get changed. Suddenly your asthma starts acting up dramatically. Coughing hard enough to throw up a lung, you declare you are too ill to swim. I breathe deeply as I know it will be another struggle to get you in the water.

"OK, sweetie, if you're too ill we can just watch, and then you will need to spend the rest of the day in bed resting." You shoot me a glare as you had planned on playing with Lizzy later.

"Well, I might be OK to swim ..."

We arrive at the pool five minutes late. You are walking slower than a snail. Your mind is searching for a way out. You start to cry. I hold you and tell you I am so proud of you for doing hard things! Your are not thrilled.

"It's OK to be scared for five seconds, but then you need to be brave," I say.

You are determined to never swim in the deep water again.

"That sucks, sweetie, because if you don't finish your swim lessons then we can't go to Jump Street this weekend, bummer ... If that's what you choose ..."

You LOVE Jump Street, and with tears in your eyes, you get in.

Lucas and I go for a walk. My heart is too weak to hear the sobbing, to see your scared body shiver and call for me. I sit far away watching though the trees with tears in my own eyes as I see you face your fears and try.

Why am I putting you through this? I could just pull you out and save you. But without the skills of swimming, you will be confined to shallow water always. If only you could understand the possibilities when you can swim.

It is times like these that I get a glimpse of what it is like for our Heavenly parents. They want us to do hard things because it makes us grow. I am certain they cry along with us when we struggle just the way I cried as I watched you try to swim. I love you more than words can express. I know you can do hard things.