Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It Is Work Learning How to Swim

This past Christmas, once again, my grandmother treated our family to a Caribbean cruise. One of our stops was in Grand Cayman. Unfortunately it was not very enjoyable. Here we go with that whole not knowing how to swim, insisting on wanting to be in the water thing. We had booked an excursion to the popular, tourist destination Sting Ray City. It was a nightmare.

C. loves the water and has no fear in a swimming pool, but in the ocean, even with her feet touching the sand on the bottom and a flotation device, she was scared. And rightfully so.

It is very understandable really when you think about it. Here we are out in the middle of the ocean on a sand bar. Sure there were what seemed like a zillion, but probably only a couple of hundred of people surrounding us, but she clung to her Daddy like she would never see him again.

Knowing we were heading to Aruba this fall, we knew before that trip to Aruba, we had to do something about this situation. As much as Jerry and I love Aruba, there was no way C. could ever fully appreciate or enjoy Aruba and all it has to offer unless she found comfort in the ocean. Fear was the enemy and a definite obstacle to anyone enjoying this upcoming vacation. In other words, the success or failure of this trip to Aruba would be based a great deal on whether or not she would feel comfortable in the water. Would she learn to enjoy it?

Only five days of camp this summer. For C., the rest of this summer would be dedicated to learning how to swim. She suffered through the lessons and admitted, for her, it was "work". Her Dad, off from teaching for the summer, drove her the 40 minutes each way to the aquatic complex. Since Atlanta was the venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics, the swimming pool was built and used for pre-Olympic training sessions. Needless to say and we the parents learned yet another lesson. To save a little bit of money, we had signed C. up for group lessons. In two sessions she had learned absolutely zero. One child, who was repeating the course, held back the entire group of 5 children. Knowing we had to take action we re-scheduled her for private lessons. Would she learn how to swim in time for Aruba?

She did learn how to swim. Once C. began learning her freestyle stroke and how to keep her head above water, she quickly gained a comfort level she had never had before. With C.'s new confidence she was not afraid of the deep end of the swimming pool where she could not touch the bottom. By the end of swim lessons just before going back to school, she was actually racing freestyle across the pool with her instructor. How will she do in Aruba?

Only time will tell.