We recently enrolled Brother and Sister in swimming lessons at a local health club. Yesterday was their first class and they were as excited as I was anxious. When I was their age, I played in the water with no fear, just as they do. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I was afraid of water. I can’t pinpoint when it happened exactly. When I was in high school at pool parties (as an aside, when I typed that, I typed poop parties and that would be a different post all together, wouldn’t it?) and even though I couldn’t technically swim above the water, I would hang out in the deep end with the everyone else. I’d stick close to the side but I was there.
Fast forward several years. I married a man who is an avid swimmer. As in, he still holds swimming records at his former high school and we are dear friends with his former high school coach. He loves to swim like I love…well, him. When he heard that I couldn’t technically swim, he wanted to teach me. I haven’t gotten around to letting him in the eight years we’ve been together.
I think that’s where the fear began. To actually have to face learning rather than just playing around is something all together different. See, I have this lifelong rule for myself. It goes like this: If I can’t win, I don’t want to play. So, failure at something isn’t an option. I realized when I married Big Daddy that he takes swimming seriously and that if I’m not good at it….well, that’s not an option for me. So, I stay away.
Funny thing about fear, it starts out small and next thing you know, you can’t even watch movies where people might drown. Then, you get all paranoid and tight in the chest when your kids are playing in the pool with their more than capable Daddy right beside of them. Before you know it, it’s out of control and you put way more thought into it than you should.
This pesky water thing has been on the forefront of my mind for a long time now and I found myself paying close attention as the swim instructor was teaching my kids in the Tadpole class yesterday. As if I could listen to her and then come home and practice in my tub and surprise! I can swim! Right. I’m considering learning. Big Daddy tells me that I already know but I just forgot that I know. He swears that one summer right after we got married, we were at the beach with my parents and playing in the pool with my siblings. He says I was swimming all over the place. I’m suspicious of his memory.
I’m so proud of my kids and their eagerness to learn. I’m excited for them. I’m also so happy that this is one thing that I haven’t passed on to them. I don’t mind them having my witty sarcastic sense of humor. Most of the time. But, I refuse to pass on my fears to them. As a matter of fact, it’s because of them that I hope to overcome my fears and show them a better way to do that for themselves.