SWIMMING LESSONS

The kids are taking swimming lessons. My own kids have always had a love/hate relationship with the water and have never really learned to swim, and R and A are pretty much in the same boat…we needed some P.E. during the day and I decided to go for it. It’s been a great addition to home schooling–all 5 kids are getting much better with swimming and I get an hour in which to sit and watch or talk with other moms. We have all learned a lot in the last 3 weeks.

The kids, obviously, are learning how to swim.

I’m learning to let go. Throughout the years I have been what even I would have to call an over- anxious parent. Pretty much follows, as I generally am an anxious-everything-else as well. What I’ve learned in the last few weeks, though, is that I can learn to let go. It takes effort. It takes work. It may be causing me a teeny, tiny ulcer in the process (ok, anxiety again) but in the nine years of parenting I have under my belt I do appear to be getting better.

I spent the last 3 weeks sitting on the sidelines, fully dressed, watching the kids learn to swim. Since TsuTsa is only 3 and is a wild woman who tends to wander off and do her own thing, the fact that I stayed dry during this time was testimony to my development in the area of letting go. I chatted with other moms, and I think I managed to at least maintain the appearance of listening to whatever they were saying (hey, I didn’t say I was perfect–just improving) while keeping track of the kids’ activities. By and large, there were no life-threatening events–my kids apparently value their own lives enough to know better than to try anything too heroic in the pool, and the teachers apparently value their jobs enough to not let anyone wander off too far. If I didn’t see one of the kids for more than about 5 minutes, my heart rate admittedly picked up a bit until I found their little heads bobbing happily around above the water. I kept telling myself, if I’d seen them in the last 5 minutes or so chances were good that even if they’d slipped under they could still be saved. Macabre…Ok, yeah. But it’s an improvement over past years, when I’ve been runner-up for overprotective parent of the year. I didn’t even insist that they wear life jackets!

The kids had the last lesson of this swim session today, and I’m happy to say that everyone made it through the experience alive…myself included. I’m proud of what they’ve learned in the last weeks and I’m also proud of my own improvement in the anxious parent department. Last week, a watchful mother dove in fully clothed when her toddler slipped under the water (which, I should add, is 2 feet deep where the toddlers swim) and didn’t come up within a fraction of a second. She surfaced, surprised toddler in arms, dripping wet and furious–her trust in the swim school (and also her expensive shoes) completely ruined. That would have been me, the first kid around. Second child, I’d have maybe waited two fractions of a second before diving in. As a veteran mom of three, I’ve managed to stay dry for three straight weeks!

The kids are learning to swim, and I’m learning to let them. Not a bad return on swim-school tuition and a couple pairs of goggles.

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