Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Swim Lessons, Part II

On week two of swim lessons I was more aware and prepared myself for the day ahead. It was still cold then; I wore boots, jeans, and under-eye concealer to hide the fact that I don’t actually sleep, but merely worry with my eyes closed.

We arrived at lessons and both children were excited to be back. I wish I could say the same. I only wanted us to get what we came for: learning.

While Caroline’s class swam, Cyrus and I watched, and vice versa. It was this week that Cyrus noticed the kiddie pool. Just off the main pool was a large, shallow pool painted with sea characters. He asked if he could get in and my heart sunk.

Cyrus doesn’t fear water like I do. Cyrus doesn’t fear anything except being drug to my home extension meetings and sitting still while we discuss current events and volunteerism.

I told him he could get in the water, then I proceeded to pace the edge of the kiddie pool. There was another family enjoying time together. Cyrus started off slowly, cautiously, trying to figure out balance in a body of water alone (remember: no bathtub at home). Then he got confident. He began running laps around the pool, splashing, embracing the freedom.

Suddenly he slipped on the bottom of the pool and couldn’t find his footing. His arms flailed back and forth. His whole body was under water. This lasted for about 6 seconds which was plenty. I yelled for him but of course he didn’t hear me. The mother sitting on the edge of the pool leaned all the way into the water and grabbed his arm. She brought him back to a place where he found his footing. I couldn’t thank her enough, but tried.

Minutes later Cyrus was back in the pool. Having that under his belt, he was ready to move on. That made one of us.

It was not ten minutes later that the scenario repeated itself. This time, he was across the pool from help. He flailed, he sunk, I screamed. My heart was in my feet. Then I did what any mother would do.

Fully dressed, I jumped into the pool and ran (is it still called running when in water?) to him. By the time I reached Cyrus, he’d found his own feet was already above water. Using two hands to wipe his eyes, he was unsure of why Mom was in the pool in jeans and a sweater.

“What you doing?” he asked out of breath.

“Helping you, buddy!” I said, more out of breath.

“I was playing shark.”

Well of course he was.

I waded back to the edge of the pool and had one heck of a time getting my body out of the pool with my jeans, sweater, and everything else completely saturated. I tried to play it cool but the family ushered their kid to the locker room, confused as to what just happened. Weren’t we all? The lifeguard, paid and trained to do what I just attempted, re-focused her attention back on the big pool.

I’d publicly transitioned from Bathing Suit Mom one week to Fully Clothed Baywatch (more like River-look) mom in front of a whole group of people. I just wanted to be the mom on the sidelines watching her children learn to swim.

I found a chair and wrung out my pants then switched kids; Cyrus got in for a lesson, Caroline came to sit poolside with me.

“What happened to your clothes?” she asked, drying off with a mermaid towel.

“I went swimming,” I told her while rolling my jeans like Tom Sawyer.

There was a long, judgmental pause with observation.

“If you wanted to swim you should have worn your bathing suit again.”


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