floating

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We wasted a lot of money and time at swim lessons this summer.
4 weeks worth.
And the boy could hardly swim.
And when I use the word swim, I mean flail around in the water enough to just keep his head above water and sometimes lucky enough to make it to the stairs.

The last set of swim lessons were a particular bust.
The teacher, a sweet blonde teenager was wooed by my son’s cuteness.
Meaning she held him about 90% of the time.
And it is pretty hard to learn to swim when you are permanently attached to someone’s shoulder.
The last teacher would work on strokes and kicking and when he would get just a few feet from the edge, he would give my son a good shove and make him get to the side by himself.
This teacher, when not toting him around on her shoulder, just seemed to work on floating.
I was frustrated. Tired of writing big checks and tired of trying to get him there in his trunks by 9 am while I sat up in the bleachers and watched him not swim for another 45 minutes.
I was especially irritated by all the floating practice. I wanted her to let go and give him a good shove like the last teacher.

Exasperated at my son’s progress, I “borrowed” a friends pool for a few days while she was out of town (thanks dawn) and put dad in charge of the lessons.
Not sure if it was dad, the magic “floating water” that my son claimed their pool had or that we finally had him undistracted, but we finally started swimming.
And again, I use the term loosely.
But he can swim several feet on his own and even take a few breaths.
We can throw him into the middle of the pool and he can make it to the sides.
He can swim down and get a quarter off the bottom of the pool (or at least the bottom step).
We also found his motivation.
Money.
And we were not above using.
We promised dollars and quarters for each new feat.
Sometimes the cash prize was still not enough motivation, but it doesn’t matter.
The kid was swimming. Sort of. And most of the time forgot to even ask for his blue inner tube.
(he never forgot to ask for his cash though!)
And at our last “lesson” he was doing so well and the one year old wasn’t venturing off the top step so I started swimming a little on my own. Just playing around in the pool like I haven’t done since I was about ten. Before there were cute boys to impress, tans to be had or little kids to keep afloat. No one was around to ask why this 32 year old was doing head stands, underwater summersaults or trying to swim laps in a pool about as long as my living room.
Eventually I laid on my back and tried to float.
And it was harder than I remembered.
Floating required me to relax. To not do anything and stop flailing.
To breathe slowly and just let the water hold me up.
And even though I know plenty about density and buoyancy trusting that this clear fluid to support all of me seems sketchy.
And the more I “tried” to hold myself up, the more I sunk.
Because you can’t make yourself float.
You just have to be still and trust that you will.

Lately I have been trying to be and do a lot of things. And I catch myself sinking more often than not.

These days when we go to the pool, my son works on swimming further, kicking harder and diving deeper.
And I am starting to think more like his last swim teacher.
I am working on trust.

1 comments:

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