Thursday, June 30, 2005


Whenever someone asks me what the kids are doing this summer, I say, "Swimming lessons." What better says "childhood summer activity?" I had nearly forgotten how much of my early summers were spent in swim lessons until we took Anna to her first class. The chlorine smell, the sound of children's voices reflected off the water, and the endless rounds of "Marco! Polo!" brought me right back. Now I know what all moms know: when its too hot to do anything else, go to the pool for instant entertainment. I also now know that it takes lots of organization and loot hauling on the shepherding mom's part. (And Dads! Anthony has been doing nearly all the swimming lesson duty this summer.)

When time allows I go swimming on my lunch breaks at work. There is a free pool nearby with a few lap lanes and a shower. At the top of the hour, the lifeguards blow the whistle for "adult swim." I swear, the first time this happened I almost got out of the pool, scowling because my fun was interrupted. Now I know that for five minutes I get to swim in relative peace and quiet, but it still feels so weird to be still in the pool!

I like the solitude of swimming laps. When my head is under water, the raucous sounds of the world are left behind. I like my rhythmic breathing when I do breast stroke, and the way I can really stretch out my weightless body. I like getting to be out in the sun after being in a windowless building all morning. My heart gets pumping and I don't get hot.

What I don't like (and I hated this as a kid, too) is seeing all the gross stuff at the bottom of the pool - hair, leaves, and dead, waterlogged bugs. And bandaids! Why are there always so many used discarded bandaids at the bottom of pools? So gross.


Emily said...

You have such a way with words! This captures the experience exactly -- both swimming as a kid and as an adult. I, too, enjoy the quiet solitude and time to concentrate on nothing but cutting through the water. And I agree, the bandaids are gross!!!

Dad said...

One of the advantages of increased age is that you can't see all the way to the bottom of the pool.

kelley said...

Jen, I thought you would like this blog I stumbled upon. She's an ER vet and has lots of interesting pics of her cool cases.

Elaine said...

Old posts totally count! Thanks for sharing this with Mama Says Om... it's an awesome look at how water defines parts of our lives! And I miss swimming, must get back to that.

Elaine from Mama Says Om

Nicole said...

I always hear the whistle and think "Stop running!" Great post.