Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Swimming in the deep side of the pool

Recently my middle son has joined a beginner swim team. He loves the pool, always has.

I on the other hand have not always been a fan of the pool, at least not since becoming a parent. One of the first homes we rented when we moved to California had a pool, and I had three small children under five. We tested the extra tall gate, we gave the pool safety talk, we locked the backdoor, we did everything we could to keep our tiny ones safe and even then we knew that bad things happen in the world.

When the baby was sleeping, I would take the older two boys for a swim. Our pool was deep, so I put life jackets on them and held onto the younger one the entire time we were in the pool. I was always right there, watching them, experiencing the water with them.

As the boys grew, I signed them up for swim lessons. I hated swim lessons. I hated getting ready for the pool, I hated how hot and sticky the room felt as we sat off to the side, and I really, really hated helping the kids get dressed after they had finished their lessons. Three tired boys, needing showers and dry clothes which somehow always ended up just a little damp.

Once the boys could swim, I was able to sit farther away from them in the community pool. No longer arms reach, they were venturing further and further from me. When we went to a friend's house with a pool, I could sit in a chair nearby, talking with friends while keeping a casual eye on the pool - mostly to keep them from too much rough housing.

And now I have a boy who I can drop off at swim team practices. A boy who goes in by himself when I have to rush off to get another boy to hockey. A boy who packs his own bag, works hard at his practice, and then heads off to the locker room all by himself.

Isn't this so like parenting. The constant care and worry and precaution taking, slowly replaced by baby steps and feeding themselves, to heading off on their own to school or practice or the real world. My son no longer needs me to be there.

He does still need a ride.

So I'm not done parenting yet.


  1. Sorry I'm just getting to this now....question: why is so much of this parenting thing worry? I know I'm supposed to (very unrealistic if you ask me) enjoy every moment with m my kids, but I don't. And I can't wait for my world of parenting that includes less worry and more encouragement to become individuals and less dependent on me. I will always worry to some degree, it is part of the territory. But to see my children take flight (and drive to the pool to swim practice) on their own sounds so much more joyful to me than only spending my days keeping them alive.

  2. It’s great to know that the kids have learned how to swim on their own. How are the boys doing now? I bet they’re really good swimmers by now. I can only imagine how proud you are to see them doing these on their own now. Anyway, thanks for sharing this with us, Jennifer. All the best!

    Bernice Cunningham @ Guardian Industries

  3. I remember when I was little and so frightened of the deep end. I do not think it was that I could not swim it was that I was afraid of getting tired and not being able to stay up due to that. I was also really afraid of sharks and for some reason, I thought they would be there.

    Alvin @ Selective Designs

  4. You are so right. Parenting seems to be one long journey from one set of worries to the next. I remember worrying about my youngest's sleeping patterns and now I worry about the amount of make-up she wears. Or Boys! Pointless worrying I guess, but even more pointless worrying about worrying- not like we can stop it if we try.

    Benton @ Pool Solar & Spa