I'm sure there was a time in my life when I couldn't swim. I'm sure of it. I just have no recollection whatsoever. As far back as my memory can reach, I remember being able to swim. I love swimming, but only a certain kind of swimming. I'm not a lap swimmer. I find it mundane, boring, and a drudgery(I suppose it's probably how many people view going for a run). It's a pool after all. Shouldn't I be having a bit of fun. I like the type of swimming that makes you feel like a kid. The kind where you take a deep breath and hold it while swimming as deep and as far as you can before resurfacing with all the speed you can muster, only to refill your lungs to the brim with fresh air, and dive back down again. I love the type of swimming that goes hand in hand with pretend. Let's pretend we are shipwrecked; let's pretend we are mermaids; let's pretend there are piranhas in the water; let's pretend we are building the Brooklyn bridge and you get caisson disease and I have to carry on the work alone with your instruction sent via garden hose. I love the type of swimming that takes you on an adventure!!! Just beyond the next wave; let's reach the second sand bar; the swimming hole at the end of Oneonta Gorge; goodness, even the "swim" up the trail/gorge to get to the falls; the rope swing and the climb back up the embankment to the tree to try your hand at flying/falling again. Just recently I experienced snorkeling and felt like an observer of a miraculous yet silent world; the fish and their home in the reef. If I had been a child growing up in a place like that, I can only imagine that child me would have never left the water.
So, ya, I want my kids to learn to swim. This sounds like a simple request. And I guess it is. It's not too hard to learn. Pete's been in swim lessons the past 6 weeks or so. And with each passing lesson, I got more and more anxious that it wasn't working, he's not catching on. We even started regressing horribly at one point. I felt like my anxiety and hopes (though kept to myself) were psyching him out, like he could feel the pressure of our future adventures riding on his shoulders.
And then yesterday, Pete's teacher took off his water wings, left the back float on, and it seemed to be the push he needed. He needed to sink a little to realize he could control the water and not the water him. He could use the water as a tool, as a medium, for fun. He took a drastic turn in the right direction yesterday. And as if the swimming wasn't enough, he did two dives, legit dives, head first, feet last, dives. I was so thrilled, so proud, and so excited for him. I was so happy he was starting to find that place where things start clicking into place. And maybe one day, when we are cliff jumping in Maui, or bobbing in the waves of the Pacific Ocean, or diving into the turquoise blue pools of the Havasu, he'll look over at me and ask, "when did I learn to swim? I can't remember ever not being able to swim." And I'll just smile, remembering full well every last minute of swim lessons, as our future family water adventures hung in the balance.