I’ve always had a fear of the water, or perhaps it’s a healthy respect for Mother Nature. Most of that fear (respect) comes from my inability to swim well. That’s why when my daughters were barely walking I put them in swimming lessons, and that’s also why I gift my grandchildren with lessons too.
Part of that is selfish – I want to spend time with my grandkids, and I don’t always have the time or money to travel. Plus, I want them to travel with me safely and not freak out like their grandmother when their toes don’t touch the bottom.
Hey in my defense, I grew up in the farmlands of Iowa with little opportunity or reason to learn to swim. Has anyone heard of the beaches of Iowa? No? Exactly. It’s not that I can’t swim. I could probably doggie paddle for a short time to save myself, but I’m no lifeguard.
I arranged their swimming lessons around my traveling and daughter’s work schedule. Half the fun of giving an “active” gift like this is sitting in the bleachers surrounding the pool and cheering them on. It’s exciting to see their accomplishments first hand, rather than hearing about them from my daughter. I’m very lucky that my grandchildren live within a few miles.
My granddaughter Kaydence was old enough to start lessons last year. While she learned how to feel comfortable in the pool and quickly advanced through several classes, I entertained my grandson Ryland. We made it a game to cheer for his “sissy” while she participated in the class. When she put her face in the water and loved it, we cheered. When she was the only one in her class that would jump off the diving board (with a lifejacket), we all hooted and hollered!
Last year, we registered Ryland for “mom and tot” swim lessons, and my daughter and I took turns getting wet with him. He’s now old enough for group lessons, and he’s definitely all boy. He jumps in the water into the arms of his instructor with no signs of fear. His lesson follows his sissy’s lesson, so it’s his sister’s turn to cheer him on.
Our first opportunity to try out their swimming skills was last summer when we took the entire family to Mexico. The investment was definitely worthwhile, when the grandkids kicked around in the pool confident of their ability to maneuver the water, but surprisingly aware of their limitations.
For me, it’s heartwarming to see my children and now grandchildren conquer my fear of the water by learning to swim. Who knows? Maybe it’ll motivate me to take adult swim lessons and conquer my own fear.
Ski lessons are next on the list for my grandkids. What lessons or activity would you want your kids or grandkids to learn?