This summer was a whirlwind of life. We turned 2, went on vacation, introduced the sprinkler, spent hours by the sea, played outside after dark, stayed up late, and did summer’s number 1 requirement; swim lessons. It is no small feat finding swim lessons for twins, under or right at 2 years old, that don’t require two adults and cost an arm and a leg. However, learning to swim was at the top of my “keeping you alive” list. My brothers and I learned to swim at a really young age. We would spend 2 weeks every summer in swim lessons at a lake in our town improving our skills each year. I was determined it needed to be the same for the boys, minus the lake.
Growing up in Southern California, you spend more than 3 months by the water, at times being an almost year round activity. Plus, given that a majority of our days it is just myself and the boys, I spent most of this summer avoiding any pool, as the stress of trying to cool off with 2 toddlers, who have no understanding of pool safety just about killed me. They needed to learn to swim.
This was the first situation, of many to come I know, but the first where I had to let go and they had to learn a little independence. I wasn’t allowed in the water with them, which was devastating both to them and myself, especially when they were taken screaming from my arms, by a stranger, in a body of water and told they were going under. To their credit they did each task, and would re-emerge screaming my name and reaching for me. It was heart-wrenching. Thankfully, a great friend who had just gone through lessons with her daughter had warned me of this. She said her mantra was “this will save her life.” So like her, that ran on a loop in my head each time they were taken from my arms.
But three days later it was no longer horror in the pool, they loved it. Each day they progressed more and more until they were swimming short distances on their own. I was still having mini heart attacks, because they loved swimming so much, they didn’t always feel they needed supervision and would just jump in. They loved it, I aged.
I learned two things during their swim lessons. Swimming is instinctual. Even in their most fearful days once in the water their arms and legs knew what to do, they just needed some assistance in learning how to control them. Another lesson on how incredible the human body and mind are.
Second, my kids are brave. Ask an adult to jump into the arms of a complete stranger and let them submerge you underwater and most would say, no thanks. But these boys did it and thrived. I watched their confidence grow each day and I saw how proud they were each time they swam. So we have the basics down and will be heading back to swim lessons in the spring to strengthen their skills. Also to remind myself, I am their guide until they are the world’s. Each new skill they learn and every bit of confidence they gain will take them a bit further from me, but ready them to take this world by storm.