Saturday, May 22, 2010
Swim with me.........
This is my family's idea of a good time. When we have a free afternoon, we love to go swimming and going somewhere with a big slide is an added bonus. I usually take lots of pictures of everyone having fun and enjoying one another. Today I realized that I would rather burden the Hubs, disappoint my children and scratch out my eyes than wear a bathing suit in public. It's a bummer because it also kills me to hide behind my camera and not actually be a part of their experience. I want to take every opportunity to play with my family and when it comes to playing, swimming is one of our passions.
I have two daughters that swim on swim teams and one that dreams about the day she will be old enough to join them. Between lessons and practices, I drive to our local swim center at least twice a day. I have spent endless hours and dollars making sure that my daughters are strong swimmers. It is sometimes painful to be the parents of swimmers. Swim centers in the Northwest are typically indoors. They are horridly hot, humid and after spending a few hours in one the chlorine permeates in my sinuses for hours. Competitions usually last entire weekends only to see my child swim for a total of six minutes.
So why on earth would I encourage a sport that is so nasty to spectate? I believe that children need to learn to swim in order to be safe. I grew up in Southern California and EVERYBODY (except my mother) learned to swim. I encourage competitive swimming because there isn't a sport with less injuries and a person can swim as long as they live. There are Master swimmers swimming in their eighties.
The biggest reason that I want my kids to swim though is because I loved it when I was a kid. I did hours and hours of lessons starting about the time I learned to walk. My grandmother took me everyday, year round. She never got in the pool with me. She simply endured being a spectator.(maybe she regretted that my mom never learned to love putting her face in the water) After lessons there were swim teams and water sports. I never could get enough of the water. I spent a few years of my childhood living on a lake and I would literally swim, canoe and ski every day that it was warm enough. I never wanted to lay in the sun next to the water, I wanted to float on the water.
There are lots of great water exercise classes for fat people not to mention that just swimming laps is doable for people that find their ability for aerobic activity limited. Unfortunately, there aren't any flattering bathing suits for the jumbo and I'm pretty sure that if I went swimming fully clothed it would draw unwanted attention to me.
Every summer our family goes to Sunriver Resort in Central Oregon. We play hard when we're there and the girls bike, ride horses, white water raft, hike, canoe and swim everyday. Some of those things I can do. Some I can't. I do pay for my entrance to the pool every afternoon so I can watch my family frolic and maybe capture a few memories with my Nikon. The Hubs and the girls ride their bikes to the pool with the littlest being pulled in a trailer behind the Hubs. I drive.
Last summer, a friend that was staying with us encouraged me to get over myself for the sake of my family and go buy a bathing suit. We drove into Bend and I went through the torture of trying on suits until the store closed and I quickly paid for the least disgusting one. I swam with my kids the next two afternoons. I tossed them, raced them, caught them and enjoyed them. I went down the slide and I kissed the Hubs in the deep end. I loved it all until I got out of the water and was faced with a big wet me. In actuality, facing myself was a very small price to pay. The girls still talk about my going swimming and today, I planned to endure those few moments of being left with a big wet me in order to be a part of their memory. I couldn't do it though. I couldn't bring myself to squeeze into the suit, walk by the mirror in the locker room and then catch the glances. Instead, I hid behind the camera and captured my family's memories that I won't be a part of.