Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Swimming Lesson

My mom can't swim. Because of that fact, she made sure that every one of us went to swimming lessons when we were kids. The only thing I remember from all those years of swimming was being on the very edge of the diving board and trying to convince myself that jumping off the end of it was a good idea. I was on that board for a long time. I finally plummeted off the edge and did something that can't even be compared to a dive. Semi-victory it was, but it was over.

Fast forward to this past week. I took Jacob (age 3, almost 4) to swimming lessons. I helped him change into his little gap trunks and gave him to some teenagers who were flirting with each other and didn't seem to know that they were with children. I sat in the bleachers, white knuckled and vigilantly watching. If anything happened, I knew I'd have to rescue Jacob because the other two were smiling dumbly at each other while trying to look cool at the same time (it just doesn't work now does it).

The kids all jumped in the pool. The little ones were at the far end. They had put a table in the pool to stand on and the kids jumped around happily, enjoying the water. Jacob kept getting dangerously close to the end of the table which did not make me happy. Every once in a while he would look over to see if I was still there and he would wave his little 3 year old endearing 'look at me Marla' wave. I, of course, would wave back and nearly start weeping with pride. During the middle of the lesson, I heard a familiar cry. It was my Jacob. I got up, ran over to the edge of the pool and tried to talk to him. Upon seeing me move very quickly to the edge of the pool, the "lifeguards" noticed what was going on. Jacob had knocked his head on the side of the pool. He was ok but I had almost had a cardiac. My first time taking him to swimming and what happens - oh yeah, no big deal, he gets a concussion. The lifeguard told me as I walked back my spot on the bleachers 'Oh, this happens all the time. I've seen worse'. Lovely.

Just when I thought that swimming lessons couldn't get any worse, they let all of the kids go to the diving board. The big bad diving board rears its ugly face once again. It was pure torture seeing all those kids go up, one by one, and try to dive. One little boy was shaking he was so scared - took the tiniest steps I have ever seen - and I had to actually put my head in my lap and hide my eyes. It was like watching funniest home videos but without the music and editing. They assigned one of the "lifeguards" to help the kids. The lifeguard would walk the child to the edge of the board and then lift them into the water if they weren't able to dive or jump off the board. When Jacob's turn came, I could barely look. The previous week, he had done a full-on painful looking belly flop. This week he did ok - he was lifted gently into the water. I wanted to kiss the 18 year old pseudo lifeguard for being so gentle with him. Bless his heart.

I've never been so glad to have swimming lessons over. He came out of the pool and I carried his 40 pound little shivering blue body down to the locker room like a sack of potatoes. He was so scared of falling on the tile when it was wet and that's the last thing any of us needed. I dried him off and took him home in the minivan. I've had enough excitement for at least a month.


  1. Marla, I love the way you tell stories! Have fun in Maui!

  2. I feel your pain. I only lasted three weeks watching my kids being terrified while inept teenagers barely kept them from drowning. Talk about a white-knuckle experience. I guess that's why my mom would just drop us off at the pool and go shopping.