I grew up in the water. In my hometown, there is a large earthen dam which was built in 1940 to help with flood control on the Allegheny River. The outflow from the dam forms a really cool creek/small river that has been called the beach since forever. It really is sort of beachy since it has imported sand, a lifeguard chair, and a concession stand.
Anyhow, since the age of 4 or so, my Mom took my brother and me to the beach every single weekday. A few days ago, I mentioned that we were outside all summer long. Part of that was facilitated by our daily trips to the beach where we soaked up tons of vitamin d as we played, unprotected, in the sun.
Part of the beach experience was swimming lessons. We took swimming lessons 2 or 3 days a week all summer, every summer. My brother and I became proficient swimmers in the murky, sometimes fast moving, freezing cold water of the outflow of Tionesta Creek. I worked as a lifeguard at a pool all through college but that was about my only experience with a pool. We were river rats…we lived in the river and drank enough of it to be part fish.
We have no such opportunity for my kids and it just doesn’t seem right that my kids are not yet great swimmers. The kids’ aunt and uncle paid for swimming lessons at the local rec-center and we’ve enjoyed watching the kids learn to swim. Isaac has actually gotten pretty good, due especially to his frequent swim trips with his summer camp friends. He is actually the most proficient swimmer in the class which leads me to the funny part. The last 2 classes, the instructor has tried to get the kids to jump in the deep end. Most of the smaller kids have “manned up” and done it but poor Isaac hasn’t yet found his nerve. I took this video of him preparing to jump in this weekend. It’s worth the download time to watch! I love that little boy!
So, my kids are not yet river rats…they are more like pool mice…but they are well on their way and I am proud!