Having a pool in Pittsburgh was fun, but I remember the water (even in July and August) was like an ice bath. It took you 20 minutes just to get in one toe at a time and then slowly lowering yourself inch by inch. Unless of course you were the brave one who flew off the diving board determined to get it over with in one fell swoop. If you were the lucky/brave one, you could then torture all your other siblings by "accidentally" splashing them. The splashees would then report the splasher to mom and she would immediately respond, "if you don't' want to get wet, get away from the pool." Ahhh the memories.
Anyway, my brother, sisters and I were like little fish, doing cannon balls off the diving board and diving into the deep end for dive sticks. I remember doing "laps" in the shallow end to see how many I could do (the pool was probably on 5 yards across). We spent ALL day in the pool. The point is, I knew how to swim and the only lesson I had ever been given was a toss in the ocean by my step dad when I was 5 or 6. My choices were to swim or drown and I chose to swim.
Now, don't get me wrong. When I say I knew how to swim, I basically am saying I knew how to keep from drowning. I had no idea how to make a proper stroke or how to breath. I swam freestyle with my head out of the water (do you know how exhausting that is?). It wasn't until January of 2009 that I actually learned to swim when I took lessons as an adult.
Still, I survived. I never drowned, never even came close to drowning, did cartwheels into the water, held my breath for as log as I could, and basically swam my little heart out. I had all the fun a kid could have in a swimming pool.
Not nowadays! Nowadays the kids take lessons. There's a novel idea. Teach your children how to PROPERLY swim and they'll know how to do it for a lifetime. Why didn't we know such things back in the 70s and 80s? We didn't wear seat belts, we didn't wear helmets and (I don't know about you) we didn't do swim lessons.
That was an awfully long intro just to tell you, today began Ella's and Jack's first swim lesson of the season. They've both taken lessons since they were 2 years old. You see, my kids really aren't swimmers. Some kids their ages are already swimming like fish without much supervision from their parents. The problem is, my kids have fear. I guess it's a good thing in a way because not having a fear of the water can be pretty dangerous, but I really wish my kids were the ones out there swimming confidently. I guess that's why we're STILL taking lessons.
Ella is actually a really good swimmer, but she is terrified. She kept saying to her instructor, "I can't." Oh how aggravating that was to me because I know she can. And sure enough each time her instructor would encourage her, saying she was a great swimmer, she'd be able to do whatever was asked of her.
|Freestyle, reaching toward her instructor|
|Big breath back to the wall|
|Swimming like a|
... and back.
I don't know what stories my kids will have to tell when they're older about their swimming experience, but I do know one thing they'll be saying... just like my mom and now just like me... "If you don't want to get wet, get away from the pool."