Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Facing Your Fear

We recently enrolled Brother and Sister in swimming lessons at a local health club. Yesterday was their first class and they were as excited as I was anxious. When I was their age, I played in the water with no fear, just as they do. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I was afraid of water. I can't pinpoint when it happened exactly. When I was in high school at pool parties (as an aside, when I typed that, I typed poop parties and that would be a different post all together, wouldn't it?) and even though I couldn't technically swim above the water, I would hang out in the deep end with the everyone else. I'd stick close to the side but I was there.

Fast forward several years. I married a man who is an avid swimmer. As in, he still holds swimming records at his former high school and we are dear friends with his former high school coach. He loves to swim like I love...well, him. When he heard that I couldn't technically swim, he wanted to teach me. I haven't gotten around to letting him in the eight years we've been together.

I think that's where the fear began. To actually have to face learning rather than just playing around is something all together different. See, I have this lifelong rule for myself. It goes like this: If I can't win, I don't want to play. So, failure at something isn't an option. I realized when I married Big Daddy that he takes swimming seriously and that if I'm not good at it....well, that's not an option for me. So, I stay away.

Funny thing about fear, it starts out small and next thing you know, you can't even watch movies where people might drown. Then, you get all paranoid and tight in the chest when your kids are playing in the pool with their more than capable Daddy right beside of them. Before you know it, it's out of control and you put way more thought into it than you should.

This pesky water thing has been on the forefront of my mind for a long time now and I found myself paying close attention as the swim instructor was teaching my kids in the Tadpole class yesterday. As if I could listen to her and then come home and practice in my tub and surprise! I can swim! Right. I'm considering learning. Big Daddy tells me that I already know but I just forgot that I know. He swears that one summer right after we got married, we were at the beach with my parents and playing in the pool with my siblings. He says I was swimming all over the place. I'm suspicious of his memory.

I'm so proud of my kids and their eagerness to learn. I'm excited for them. I'm also so happy that this is one thing that I haven't passed on to them. I don't mind them having my witty sarcastic sense of humor. Most of the time. But, I refuse to pass on my fears to them. As a matter of fact, it's because of them that I hope to overcome my fears and show them a better way to do that for themselves.


  1. I can associate with the "I'm not playing if I'm not going to win" mentality - sad though it is to admit! Although over the years I have got better and just try and participate.

    I grew up without learning to play tennis, but my husband and his family are good and rather avid players. I resisted for as long as I could before I let hubby teach me some basics then I joined in with some local girls who played 'hit and giggle' and got lots of practice. His coaching put me in good stead for their games and their practice improved my performance. He was sooo surprised the next time he played me ;) I'm still not brilliant and I still do some shocking shots, but its just good fun now.

    Hope you can conquer your fears soon.

  2. hey there
    that "if I can't win" thing gets me too... and i see it get my now 10 yr old. So hard to just get out there and try even if the try fails - augh! But so it goes.
    My little man is terrified of water and ison the swim team because he'd rather drown than watch his big sister and brother... last summer when he jumped off the block for his first race I grabbed a life guard and said "see that kid? he is going to freak when he realizes he is in the deep end. Either you get him or hold the baby so I can!!!" She thought I was nuts but took off her sweatshirt and went to stand at the edge - sure enough he flailed around but they got him to a lane rope and then his coach walked him down the lane. You know - he wouldn't quit. Man I admire him.

  3. Hey, you more than welcome to face your fear at my sunny AZ pool with some chocolate and cocktails? Chocolate and cocktails make fears weak!

  4. There' nothing harder than watching your kiddos doing something that you yourself fear greatly now is there? Good for you getting them out there and having them learn something so important yet so fun! I can't wait for my boys to start their swimming lessons!

  5. Very proud of you for not passing on your own fear to your children. I've seen so many moms afraid of dogs find themselves with children who are also terrified of dogs. Good for you, taking them to lessons. That is a great step!


  6. I have a wicked fear of water too.

    It can after all kill you. (I'm not very rational)

    I am trying so hard not to pass on my fears too.

    I know I need to get around to learning to swim myself too.

  7. I am not an expert swimmer...but I would love my kids to be. Both are enrolled in swim lessons and wouldn't you know it...my oldest just tested "advanced"! Which officially means he is a better swimmer than his mom and he's only 3 years old!!