Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Swimmer Girls

For the past month and a half or so Miss Monkey has been a champ in swimming lessons. The first go 'round in the Guppies class, getting more comfortable in the water and learning basic things like bubble-blowing and breath control. I was pretty proud that she mastered these already and was recommended to move up to the Tadpole class. Her swim attempts are looking more and more like real strokes, big-arms and all. Then this past couple of classes we purchased some inexpensive goggles for her, and she's now almost totally diver-girl. She'll ask me to move to the "far" side of the shallow area in the pool so she can practice swimming/diving to me. She pops up every breath to check to see how close she is, but less so now with the goggles. "They have treytles on them!" Today I remember, that since I'm a swimmer, I have goggles too! So we spent some time hanging out underwater smiling at each other and blowing bubbles. What once was old is new again. :) At almost every opportunity she orchestrated our simultaneous bobbing so that she might see my face as she swims toward me in her tadpole-halting way. I had some real moments of child-like joy today in these 'submarine' moments. Oh how I miss the salt-water, one day we'll visit Baby Beach at Spreckelsville again, and enjoy the morning like we did when Little Girl was months-old. One day I'll get a lovely open water swim in the big beautiful ocean!

Point of pride in this swimming lesson experience: When I was small, 4(?), I was in a swim class. I don't remember wanting to be in the swim class. What I do remember is a terrible gripping fear that I wasn't good enough, I remember a massive pressure to please because I was the youngest in a Tadpole class of 5-6 year olds. Maybe my age-group class didn't make. I remember vomiting, or dry heaving, every morning before my lesson. I remember hating the smell of chlorine, the simple thought of swimming in a lap pool terrified me.

Much more recently I remember having panic attacks in the gym locker room before I got in the pool…A young man that noticed my anxiety and talked me down somewhat so I could swim…. Finally, I remember, after a month or so of triathlon swim training, standing in the shower realizing that the anxiety wasn't mine to begin with, that it was given to me, and I didn't need it anymore…I let it go. Sometimes that vague habitual memory of panic returns around the edges of my conscious, then I simply let it go again, confident in my abilities in the pool now.

I am so glad, that I didn't pass my anxiety to my daughter.

Alter the pattern, break the chain, change the legacy.

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