Seals & Diving Boards

I threw the pink swim bag stuffed with towels, brushes, shampoo, conditioner, and who knows what else over my shoulder and trailed my two bouncing, giggly, 5-year-old twin girls through the swirling snow of the Medina Rec Center parking lot and in the front door for our twice-a-week swim lesson.

I say “our” because I am commanded to wear my swimsuit and get to lessons early so we can take a few laps around the “swirly” pool--which you probably call a lazy river.

Once class begins, I get the choice of spending some quality time in the hot tub taking great pains to wave back to whichever girl is smiling, waving, or blowing kisses to me from the edge of the pool or hanging with one of my friends who is unfortunate enough to have two kids of different ages.

This means he pulls a two-hour shift every Monday and Wednesday--which, when you think about it, is a long time for a 40-year-old, slightly out-of-shape adult to hang out in a swimsuit in front of a window that opens to a view of a raging snowstorm.

But that’s what Dads and Moms do and, truth be told, we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Our kids are Seals--which, as far as I can gather, means they’re learning how to tread water, float on their fronts and backs, and, most important, at least according to my daughters, jump off the diving board and swim to the side of the pool.

Yesterday was the first day the Seals were allowed to try this. There had been much talk and speculation amongst the 5-year-olds over when this was going to happen and whether or not they would actually jump off the dang thing when the time came.

As it turns out, my oldest twin (by eight minutes) decided she was cold and needed to wrap in a towel and sit with me and watch the other kids jump. My youngest twin decided she was not only going to jump, but she was so excited when her turn came that, instead of walking gingerly to the end of the board and plopping in, she was going to run and jump as far as she could.

I had no problem with this, other than the fact that, for a Seal, she can’t swim worth a lick. I watched as her teacher, who was treading water and holding the noodle the kids were supposed to grab and use to help them get back to edge, frantically swam to my daughter, grabbed her from underwater, and pulled her to the surface.

My daughter, none the wiser for her near miss, was all smiles. She hugged her teacher, who was trying to tread water and hold my daughter above the water, and then took off actually swimming to the side of the pool.

Watching it all take place, my other daughter turned to me and said, “I’m going to jump off the board next week.”

I just shook my head, gathered my charges, and headed for the showers--proud of my daughters and happy that my community had a place and staff that allowed my daughters to learn to swim in such a fun environment.

This issue is dedicated to all of you who make experiences like this possible--thanks for all you do!

Till next month…

Rodney J. Auth