at 12:35 AM

It was one of those hot, California days destined for laziness.

I took my family to the local swimming pool to escape the heat. There was a line of children at the diving board and, on a whim, I hopped up and got in line. I didn't know my three-year-old daughter was watching intently. After my jump, she innocently said, "Daddy, I want to do that. That looks fun!"

I cleared it with the lifeguard and my wife and eased back into the water to wait. Soon, two little feet began to climb the steps. Reaching the top, my daughter walked out toward me. As she got over the water, reality sunk in. While only five feet up, to her it appeared to be much more. Despite this, she did not turn back. Legs shaking, she took one determined step after another. When she finally reached the edge, everyone looked on with anticipation. Would she jump?

Adults and children alike shouted encouragement. "You can do it!" "Your daddy's got you!" Looking up, I saw my daughter: blue goggles tight against her head, blonde hair matted in a wet pony tail, two-piece swimsuit slightly pulled up exposing her little tummy. I wanted to say something, but I was holding my breath. And then it happened.

Time froze for one second and an eternity. My daughter drifted through the air and then, Splash! The crowd yelled with glee. My daughter reached for me with a huge smile. Breathing again, I laughed and gave her a big hug.

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Parenting at times seems full of chaos. A blur from the instant you are ripped out of sleep until your head hits the pillow at night. And yet, it is full of so many wonderful moments: witnessing your child's firsts, seeing that someone trusts you so much that they are literally willing to jump, knowing that you will catch them, watching as potential is realized. Some of these moments are planned, many are not. I may only be a few years into this journey, but I already know that I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

With a Perspective, I'm Kevin Bendemire.

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Kevin Bendemire is an attorney. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Los Gatos.

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