Since January, my son and I have been taking swimming lessons at Le Petite Baleen (the little whale, I assume…although I never took French). I have to admit, it was daunting at first. You see, I never had a good experience when learning to swim. I panicked and physically turned green when it was time for swim lessons with Lynn Lake (who was wonderful) down at the over chlorinated YMCA pool. My mother tells me that it was because years before when I was just an infant she took me to “Water Babies” and I got upset because all the other kids were screaming. Maybe so, I’ve been told I can be “sensitive” to others. It could also be that I have dense bones. I’ve never broken anything…well ok, apparently a fractured Big Toe, but I didn’t even notice that till years later…and owe it all to having very dense bones. Unfortunately that means that when other people float at the top of the water, I float about 2 feet beneath the surface. Something about Archimedes’ principle — weight, density, displacement, you get the picture. Not so good for learning to float, drown proofing, bobbing for apples. It takes more energy to get to the top of the water than you save by floating in the pool. I’ve thought about getting adult lessons but things are too busy at the moment.
So, when my son started swimming lessons, some of the old deep seated fears came out. I was more nervous than he was. Pushing his head underwater as I pushed him forward to the teacher (3 feet away or so) was physically difficult to me because of those emotions. I was emotionally learning to swim again, and it made the mornings difficult and exhausting. Not only that, but just getting our stuff together and out of the house on time to drive to lessons was a challenge (as my wife will tell you, I ALWAYS seem to leave something behind…last week it was the diaper bag…on the side of the road…15 minutes from our home).
What I’ve found however is that just being with my son, with one on one time, Daddy + Son in the water, is amazing. I don’t get a lot of weekday time with him. I get the 20 minutes in between my shower and when I have to be out the door to catch the 7:00 train. I get the 45 minutes including bath time plus 2 story books when I get home as he’s almost headed to bed at that point. The weekdays are a wash and there just isn’t a lot of time to be “Daddy”. So the weekend is critical. Most of the weekend is family time with all three (soon to be four) of us. But that 30 minutes is my time with him. And now, I treasure it!
Cut to 2 weeks from Saturday. We’re starting Daddy and Me Soccer. I can’t wait to see the little guy kicking a ball across the field and scoring goals. Holden may not be able to play soccer as long as I did (on the high school varsity team for a year or two) since he has a bone deficiency that could cause fractures more often. It’s no contact sports for him. But he’s going to be better than me since he’s starting early and seems to love sport of any kind. Cackling with glee as he kicks his soccer ball around our backyard already is a joy to watch.
Now I get two Daddy moments per weekend. And this time, there are no deep seated fears to overcome. Just some good old Soccer. Gooooooaaaaaalllll!!!