There is so much about summer that I loved as a kid. Climbing trees, bike riding, fishing and camping, playing kickball with the neighbors, the ice cream truck, eating watermelon, roasting marshmallows over the campfire, and on and on and on. But the one thing I always dreaded was summer swimming lessons. I know most kids love swimming, but not me.
My parents would sign me up for swimming lessons to start every summer vacation. Always nice and early in the morning, while the water in the pool was still quite cold from the night. Starting when I was in 1st grade I would trudge over to the pool and get my little wire basket from the front desk and change into my swimsuit. Then take the basket back to the desk, (but only after I had taken the pin with the tiny engraved number on it and pinned it to my swimsuit). I would dutifully put my swim cap on and do a very quick run through the showers (why oh why did we have to get wet before we could get into the pool?) and then go stand in line with my very beginner group of students (tadpoles) waiting for the teacher (usually some high school kids) and shivering in the early morning sun.
But here’s the thing. I just couldn’t seem to learn what I was supposed to learn. I kept having to take the same lessons over and over again. Every new session, I would go back to tadpoles with increasingly younger kids. After a few years I graduated tadpoles to guppies, but it took me quite a few takes for guppies as well. It became very embarrassing to be so much older than all the other kids in the class, and eventually my parents gave up trying to get me to be a swimmer.
Don’t get me wrong. I won’t drown out there. I can hold my breath under water. I can tread water just fine. But I could never really get any of the swim strokes down pat. And I definitely could never dive. And all that standing around shivering and waiting for your turn in the water…..bleh! I really disliked it. It seemed like torture to my very young self. I know my parents were only looking out for me, trying to be sure I could swim, so I wouldn’t drown if I fell out of the boat. But I just never enjoyed swimming. Luckily my own kids took to swimming like they were fish, and they loved it, so I didn’t need to force them to take swimming lessons.