My attempt to catch my daughter’s dive.
My son does some most painful belly flops.Print
The kids start swimming lessons again, this time on Saturday mornings. My son must wait patiently (impossible) for his turn as my daughter’s class is first.
She is in a semi private with another girl. This girl is tiny.
She is some swimmer, too. Her little legs propel her forth, her little arms working like the paddle wheels on a steam boat.
My daughter towers over her.
We are back at swimming lessons for one more week. My son sits with me first while his sister starts her lesson. My son is restless.
“Why can’t I go first like I did last time?!”
I open my thermos to pour myself some tea and realize I didn’t add milk. Goddammit. I screw the top back on.
It is a relief when it is my son’s turn (“How much longer?” he has asked repeatedly). My daughter settles into her Ipod.
We leave a half hour later as grey clouds roll in. There is a thunderstorm in the forecast and I just want to get home in time. I hate driving in hard rain, prefer the comfort of home. We stop at a friend’s house to drop something off, chat, get home and as I pull into the driveway, my daughter asks:
“Where’s my Ipod?”
She thinks I have it, I say I don’t, she searches frantically.
The clouds are above us and dark grey. My plan of getting home just in time dissipates.
My daughter had been struggling with many things as we made our way to the car. Maybe she dropped it. Maybe somebody found it and turned it in. I call the pool. The Ipod is there.
We are going again the next day. I should say: “We’ll get it tomorrow.” But I look at my daughter’s eyes and she looks at me and I say:
“Let’s go get it now.”
Still, amazingly, I make it back before the storm. I dump the contents of the thermos and make myself a new tea when we get inside, safe.Print
I search out the public pools to find one that allows diving during fun swims. There is one. We go.
My son needs to practice.
I settle in the chairs to the side with a book but am immediately drawn back to the diving board. Kids fly off this thing, perform spins, somersaults. A boy my son’s age climbs high into the air, flips over and over, plunges into the water. Again and again.
My kids work on their dives off to the side.
Bigger boys appear and do even fancier spirals. One girl wearing a teeny bikini seems most interested in a boy who has become the daredevil on the board.
He seems less interested.
Once my son dominates the art of the dive, he and his sister eagerly make their way to the excitement. No dives now. They take turns running and jumping off the board, cannonballs, high straight jumps, crazy body twists into the air.
Some very small children timidly approach the end of the board and then throw themselves in.
When it is time to go, I realize that I haven’t read a word.
My kids have taken swimming lessons since they were little. The Friday that dawns on those weeks we do every-day swimming lessons means they put that much extra pressure on themselves to pass. And they don’t always pass. Then they are upset.
Those Fridays – or that last lesson at the end of the ten-week lesson period – always makes me nervous, too.
I tell them they can only do their best and no more. Less bobbing, more listening. But still, they yearn for the next level.
We will work on the front crawl, that whip kick and that dive (no more belly flops). They will eventually move on. They always eventually do.