Sink or float

Good morning!

First of all, I am MELTING in this heat. Phew!!! Okay, so I was born and raised in Trinidad – an island almost ON the Equator – so I should be used to 30+ C temperatures every day, but damn. 

I don’t know if I’ve shared this before, but I can’t swim. Yes, I know I just said I was born and raised on an island, but the truth is that my dad grew up near the sea and is an amazing swimmer, but that talent had not been passed down to us. As children, we ALWAYS went to the very safe beach: no waves, not very deep. We did go to the beach often, but out of an abundance of caution, we were never allowed to venture out to swim. We would play on the shore under Mummy’s very watchful eye and one by one, my dad would take us out to the deep for 15 minutes. We would get dunked and just hang out there for a bit, but make no mistake, our tiny fingers were clenched around Daddy’s neck the whole time. After all six of us were washed and had our time, my dad would go out by himself for about 20 minutes and swim and float and just enjoy the water in a way someone who is absolutely comfortable with it is. My mum almost never went in.

I’ve never thought of that before – the fact that my dad is such a strong swimmer, yet none of us were taught how to swim. Hmmmm…the fact that we weren’t taught how to ride a bike either as children was also because we weren’t allowed to venture. Hmmm…very, very interesting.

I love the smell of introspection in the morning!

Flashforward 30 years and now I have my own son and I don’t know how to swim. Lame! Kidlet’s dad didn’t know how to swim either, so we decided that swimming was something that HAD to be learned. The next generation HAD to be better than ours, so from very early on, he was in swimming lessons.

It’s a strange feeling watching your small child do something that (frankly) scares you. I often wondered if I was holding him back. He would go to the pool, but I would have a super watchful eye on him (just like my Mum), making sure he didn’t go too far or didn’t lose his footing. I was overly cautious because as his mother, I knew fully well that if something were to happen, I wouldn’t be able to help him. So basically, my inability to swim (which is my own problem) had made him cautious of the water as well. Sigh. For a long time, this bothered me and we stopped going to the pool for a bit because the last thing I want to do is hold him back. Over time though, as he got more comfortable in the water, I did take him to the pool, but I would sit it out, letting him swim at his own pace and test his own boundaries while I watched him from the sidelines. I wanted him to trust his own ability and not let my fear literally drag him down.

Last night, he had swimming lessons. He had made it to Star Level 1, which is an intermediate level, and I promised him I would go down to the far end of the pool, which parents aren’t really allowed, to watch him. There was no seating, so I stood there for half an hour, watching my child, the fruit of my loins do laps in the full length pool effortlessly. He was a natural, swimming up and down, on his back, submerged, on his tummy, on his side. The pride in my heart was overwhelming. I hadn’t broken him! He loved it and despite my fear of the water, he was not afraid! I had a big smile on my face the whole time! As soon as he made it out of the pool, I said very exuberantly (and a little too loudly), “Wow! You’re amazing!” to which I was immediately and vigorously shushed! haha

He’s such an inspiration to me. Pushing himself past his circumstances at a very young age. I do credit myself with taking him to the pool often and getting out of his way, but ultimately, it would be easy for him to still be scared and cautious, but he pushed himself and that’s a testament to his developing character.

I don’t know if it was sign, but at the pool, right in the area where I was standing, what do you think was going on: adult swim lessons. There were four adults – three men and one 60+ woman – learning how to float. I could see the panic, I could see the distrust of the water and of themselves. I felt vindicated looking at them. I felt like saying, “See? It IS scary!!!” but then I looked over to Kidlet, flippers on, arms threading in and out of the water, swimming exclusively due to his own determination, I thought, “I can do it!”

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One is the loneliest number

What’s going to be my winter hobby?

A few months ago, Kidlet’s Dad and I changed the way we shared our time with him, so now we have full weeks on and off. It means that I’m away from my child for a long time, but then I get to be with him for a long time. Now what that has meant to me is that we spend quality time together, playing games, having dinner together, and just being a family together. The flip side to that is when he’s away, I have enough time to get out of Mummy mode and I’m just a single woman, rambling in our home with nothing but time on my hands. The evenings, which were usually filled with board games and healthy dinners, turn into movie marathons and a bowl of cereal.

Usually in the summer, I can get motivated to go out and be productive, meet up with friends or, at the very least, do laundry! Now that it’s dark at 6, it’s harder to get momentum in the evenings. I find myself working late to avoid coming home to dark and empty house. I have to get out of the funk. I have to find a class or something to take. It seems imperative at this point. It’s not about finding a partner, although I think that would help, but it’s about finding myself as a person.

How many of you mothers would know how to fill 7 days back to back if you were periodically relieved of all of your motherly duties? It’s because I know I’m not only a mother. It was the same way when I got married and moved to Canada. For a long time I felt like I was just a big sister and when I moved away from my brothers, it felt strange not having a gang of people to take care of, but then again, I was a wife, so that redefined me and I focussed on that. Having said that, earlier this year, I found out that I’m not cut out to be a Stay-At-Home-Mum either. So I’m back to square one. I’m saying all this not to feel sorry for myself. I’m saying this because I find that I keep circling back to this point.

And I’ve been at this point before, essentially wandering in the desert, but I just suppressed it and moved on with my life. Joining the gym was a flop. Perhaps taking some kind of class might be a good way to go, but what class? Blogging helps – having the commitment to write and focus my energy on creating good posts is a good thing. I just think it’s uber distressing not knowing who I am in isolation. I’ve always prided myself on being self-aware, but I can’t seem to get a handle on this. I’ll find it. I know I will, and when that happens, “Watch out!”

Maybe it just comes right down to be lonely and being alone. It could be just as simple as that.

Nevertheless, it’s the restlessness….

Sigh.

*****Back to my regularly scheduled programme*****