Into the deep end
In the midst of summer when community facilities started opening up (with limited users) I decided to enroll Advaith for swimming. As someone who enjoys being in the water, I figured it was the best way to keep him busy as there was practically nothing else to do. To motivate him further, I also gave him a short speech about how his mother is a ‘swimmer’ and how everyone must know this life skill, blah blah.
Now that I was taking the brat to the pool, I didn’t want to just sit around just watching him. I decided to get into the water and ‘hone my skills’.
Mind you, I exuded confidence on day one. ‘of course woman, you know how to swim. Remember the classes that you took during school summer break?You got this’
Until I didn’t. And how.
The coach asked my son to hold the edge of the pool, take a deep breath and immerse his head completely in water and bubble.
While I was on the other side “swimming” (more like waddling around in the shallow end now I realise) I decided to try out the same moves. I did not hold onto anything. (‘cause a real swimmer is not supposed to, remember?) Within the next five seconds, not only could I NOT bubble. I found myself face flat into the water, swallowing water and gasping for breath at the same time. All the while hoping that no one had seen me.
After the bubbling fiasco, my confidence had dipped. ‘what was happening? Have I forgotten everything?’
The coach was now instructing my son to focus on his legs, kick faster and stronger in order to get the right posture and balance while in water.
Each time I tried to do the same, my hands moved towards timbuktu and my legs seemed to have a mind of their own. I was not sure whether to laugh cause I was watching my son doing a better job than me or cry cause I was struggling with this stuff (which I thought I knew!)
“Now that you know bubble and kick, let us do a few jumps.” said the coach when the next class began. The child suddenly panicked hearing the word ‘jump’ and started to protest.
Seeing his hesitation I quickly chipped in “Adu, you don’t need to be scared. See we are all here. Just give it a try. See Amma is also going to jump.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I regretted it. BIG BLUNDER. I have never jumped into any pool, EVER!
The child looked at me as if to imply “Really, you can?”
Now I had to look brave after what I had just blurted in front of him and the others who gave me a puzzled stare.
‘No biggie’ I told myself trying to stay calm, ‘it is only about 4 feet. Get it over with.’
And just then the lifeguard said something which made me freeze for a few seconds.
“Madame, the shallow end is dangerous for adults to jump. Please could you go to the deep end.”
8 AND A HALF FEET! Are you friiikkkkking kidding me!?
But then I was a ‘swimmer’ and I had to behave like one. More than anything, I now had a 4 year old looking up to his mother to lead the way!
I could literally hear my heart in my mouth as I stood on the edge and looked at the water. The vast expanse of blue staring back at me. I took a deep breath, gathered the very last ounce of courage, and plunged in.
Within seconds I was on my belly, my face flat into the water. For a brief second I wondered if I would really survive, but to my shock I felt my legs actually moving. My hands were wading through the water. I was actually moving forward. I was swimming, or something like it!
I soon reached the nearest pool ladder and thanked my stars that I had not passed out.
My son stood up in awe and called out to me when I finally emerged from the water barely catching my breath. In his eyes, I had done the impossible!
Heh! If only he knew….
Ps : The same coach is now helping me ‘hone my skills’ just in case I proclaim to jump into the sea the next time.