After my swim class last week I cried. I cried real tears in the shower like I was 5 years old. I cried because (in my opinion) I did SO poorly. I went to class, got into the pool, did the kick board, the barbel thing, kicked my feel blew bubbles but just could not seem to get the arms and breathing “right”. Water in my mouth (no fun), water in my nose (REALLY no fun) and then my teacher suggested a noodle and this belt float thing that seemed to make me float but didn’t do much for my coordination. I watched my other adult swim classmates progressing to the “other end” without me – I wasn’t swimming, wasn’t floating at least not on my own and it hit me that I doing the same things from day one of class! I had not progressed, swimming seemed so far from my grasp – so I cried.
Probably not the best choice of responses but that’s what I did.
I went home to my husband and children only to tell them that it was hard and that I hadn’t done anything new this week and was feeling lousy.
So, the week goes by and I tried not to think about my upcoming swim lesson too much. But, I REALLY did not want a repeat of last week and certainly not the tears. I asked God to help me. Who else is better than HIM right?
I get to the pool feeling like I have nothing to lose and I realize that there is no one from my class present. A young “kid” walks up to me and tells me his name is John and that he is the instructor for the day. He looks like he is 13 years old or young enough to be my child. He hops in the pool and tells me to get in. So, I follow his direction and got in. John worked with me one-on-one yesterday. He was super patient and easy-going! He had so much faith in me and my ability to get everything coordinated to swim, and he decided that I did not need any extra fotation During the last 15 minutes of class he said “Darcey you just have to swim. You can do it!” I immediately thought of God and the verse in the book of Deuteronomy 31:6 that says, “…The Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you.” i.e. Darcey, God is NOT going to let you drown in 4 feet of water!” So, I just did it! I swam! Then I did it again! and again! and again! (all while telling myself that God is with me here in the pool).
It wasn’t super coordinated, It wasn’t perfect, but I did it. I can only compare it to a toddler who is taking their first steps in life.
At the end of the class, John (who is 16 and about to be a high school senior) told me “good job, Darcey”. I smiled and nearly cried again – but this time tears of joy!
I’m feeling wonderful right now!
I am four weeks into my swimming lessons and am on the verge of week five. I have missed a few lessons due to vacations with the family. During these weeks I have learned something key –
1. Kids learn to swim because they play in the water so they get a better sense of what they feel like in the water (above and below the surface).
2. I do not play in the water….
But, I AM following the advice of my daughter to “Listen to my teacher”. A progress report is coming.
Words of wisdom from my 4-year-old daughter as I packed up my swim bag to leave for my first lesson yesterday. When she saw me getting ready to leave she asked if I was heading to my swim lesson. I told her yes and she suddenly transformed into my “big” little girl. She told me to sit with her. So I did. She then became my “coach”. She told me how I was going to have to practice blowing bubbles, and put my face in the water and kick my feet. She ran down a long list of exercises I would do including the kickboard complete with a visual demonstration of how to move my arms. I was impressed that she could explain so much! I thanked her and told her I would do my best. As I was getting up to leave and putting my bag over my shoulder she said “Mommy wait!” I looked back and she smiled and said “Mommy, listen to your teacher!”
What GREAT advice – I wonder where she got that from!
I have thought over and over again about why I never learned to swim. I am not 100% sure what happened. I guess that I just never had lessons as a child and the opportunity never presented itself either. I wasn’t a member of the local Boys and Girls Club – and apparently we did not do lots of summer camp. My parents are not really swimmers, and I am sure that hair played a role (more on that in another post) So, here I am as a non-swimming adult.
This is not my first stab at learning to swim. I took lessons in college. I got a bad cold and dropped out. Thank GOD I did not attend a HBCU (Historically Black College or University) where swimming is a requirement of graduation. I might have never graduated. I also took lessons while pregnant with my middle child over 6 years ago. It just did not “stick”. I had the maternity swim suit and everything! I did however find that my constant fighting with the water was great exercise and I gained about 22 pounds with the pregnancy and then delivered a nearly 10 pound baby boy. Half of the baby weight gone in the delivery room and still a non swimmer. But, I was determined to try again and I did.
I convinced my father to take swim lessons with me at his local YMCA. He told me that he could not swim. I felt like I could do it this time. I had a partner. We arrived at swim class, hopped into the pool with my dad and was ready. The instructor said to the group “Let me see what you can do.” I quickly replied “I cannot swim at all.” I looked at my father who then puts his head in the water and proceeds to SWIM to about 5 feet deep of water and then swim back to where I am standing in the (very) shallow end. Feet kicking, arms moving he glides through the water!!! I am 100% confused! He says “Well, I can’t swim in deep water.” Apparently he “learned” 50 years ago at the Boys and Girls Club back when your friends just shoved you into the pool and you sank or swam. Apparently he swam. So, from day one we were in separate groups within the same class and by class #2 he is in the “other end” (not the deep end). I finish the class the way I started, as a non-swimmer. But I guess that on some level it was good bonding time for me and my dad.
I am the only non-swimmer in my home. My husband and three children all are swimmers of varying degree. My youngest two are in lessons now at our local YMCA and my oldest is a great swimmer, also trained at the YMCA and through summer camp. My little ones ages 4 & 5 currently ask why I cannot swim and today even said, “Mommy when we get to Florida in August I am going to help teach you to swim.” Well, now that’s very nice of them but the idea is to be swimming before then.
So, it is time. I have been looking on-line lots for some inspiration and came across this…
If they can learn then so can I right?
There was a time when I had a list. A list of 40 things to do before I turned 40. The list included things like… snorkeling, travel to Europe (again), go skiing at least once, build a (good) snowman and learn to swim among other things.
Well, where did the time go?
Here I am quickly approaching 40 and I haven’t yet done many of these things. I got the snorkeling in with lots of flotation devices attached (looking semi-ridiculous), while my son and his friends jumped feet-first, head-first, backwards and any direction into the ocean in Bermuda.
Did I mention that I cannot Swim?
- Snorkeling in Bermuda – Summer 2011
So, I have decided that since time is running out now on 40 (just 5 months to go), I will select one thing to do before I turn 40 and that is (drum roll please)
LEARN TO SWIM..
It is high (tide) time I guess anyway…
So, while there are lots of things that I can blog about – I will start here. Perhaps this will keep me honest and in the water.