When I see this picture, it causes so many things to run through my head. First, "OMG MY BABY!" Then, "Wow, what a determined, perseverant person this little boy is becoming." Next, "WHAAAAT! He is going to get hurt, for sure."
And when he jumps, people clap. Kids look at him and say, "You've gotta see this little kid. He's amazing." Then part of me feels guilty for not immediately thinking how amazing he is, because my first thought is of his brains splattered at the bottom of the pool.
When he was done, after a brief second of hugging, he looked at me and said, "I'm going to go off the high dive now." I didn't get time to process it. To relish in the achievement. He did it. He moved on to the thing he really wanted. As the lifeguard gave him the rules of the boards and the deep end, I was shaking. And breathing deeply. And proud. And terrified. And thinking that this is parenting. You WANT this for them. There is no alternative. You WANT them to have independence, to meet their goals, and to get what they desire. All that you do, every day, every decision is so that they can do this for themselves. But it is terrifying. And exhilarating.
(he's not the first jumper on the low dive, he's the next one)
And it feels just like jumping off of the high dive for the first time.