As a kid, I took swimming lessons for several years at the local YMCA. But as an adult, when I swim, it still looks as if I am drowning. My hands are moving, while my body is trying to invent an undiscovered swimming stroke.
A few years go, my husband thought it would be great exercise to swim at the local recreation center. My apprehension no wasn’t so much about swimming, but about putting on the bathing suit. I got over my superficial fear and ventured, with husband, to go for a swim in the lap pool. The lifeguard at the pool, after witnessing my swimming greatness, told my husband, “Your girlfriend is getting better at swimming. She doesn’t splash her hands and feet as much.” I still laugh when I think about that comment.
The lifeguard was right, I slap my hands at the water, aiming for something that I don’t see. While in the water, especially as I near the deep end, half of me is petrified and the other is uncoordinated. Even after years of experimenting with swimming, on and off, I’ve never quite mastered the grace that swimming requires.
I haven’t really thought about it much, until my daughter started taking swimming lessons. In my mind, I expected my daughter to really excel at swimming. She has the build of my husband, long legs, arms that are limber, and a temperament that is closer to my husband’s personality than mine. She is adventurous and isn’t afraid to discover new terrain. I thought she would be eager to jump into the pool and graduate to the next level without much consternation.
It hasn’t really happened that way. My daughter is usually worried about her swim lesson the night before it is actually scheduled. On the way to the swim lesson, she says she isn’t going to do bubbles under the water, while I try to console her as the fearful look on her face appears. Once I manage to convince her to get into the pool, she is already telling the teacher, that she isn’t going to go underwater or float on her back. As the words come out of her mouth, she is crying, her eyes a mixture of tears and chlorine. I realize she detests swimming, but I encourage her to press on.
I think about my own inability to swim. Seventy percent of the world is covered in water and if I had to swim at a second’s notice, it would be difficult. I’ve tried and I realized for some reason, it just doesn’t click.
I know that my daughter is still at an age where she can be molded and there is still time for her to get it.