Taking the Plunge

I have been trying hard to find as many new experiences as possible to explore with HRH  these days as, Lord knows, I have to shake this ‘Princess Persona’ she has of me lately.  It’s pretty easy actually, as I am currently pretty active myself with my Ironman training, so I tend to swim, bike and run a lot.  Most of which I can usually coax her to participate a little of with me…running aside that is.  She’s usually up for a short bike ride along the Friendship Trail where we live, but swimming is definitely something that we both share a passion for.  We typically go to the local YMCA pool once a week to play and practice her front crawl, her breathing, blowing bubbles underwater, diving to the bottom, etc. during the designated Family Swim times.  I really enjoy these times together with her and when mom is working, it’s a great way to tucker her out so she passes out in bed later on without a fuss.  See, I’m learning!

Recently, I even coaxed her out into the open water with me; something she had yet to experience and was very reluctant to do.  Even with her goggles, she can’t see to the bottom and so the fear of the unknown is prevalent in many new comers to open water swimming no matter how confident they are in the pool. But I believe this to be a life skill like any other, particularly if she is ever going to go to camp someday, or to a cabin somewhere where there is a lake to swim in.

First was the concern of the fishes.  “Do they bite your toes”?   No.

Then it was ‘seaweed’ and other water-borne plants.  “Does the seaweed get caught in your legs?”   Well, yes, sometimes…but it doesn’t hurt any.  “Does it feel gross?”   No.

Then it was the bottom of the canal itself.  “Are there monsters down there?”   No.  “Have you ever seen anything weird or scary”?   No.  But I did see a shopping cart once.

And on and on it went for weeks.  Yet I could see the interest building in her as she just wouldn’t let the idea go.

Then one afternoon when she and my girlfriend were tagging along to my own swim workout at the ‘International Flatwater Center’ where I train, she decided to take the plunge…quite literally.  I was a bit shocked I must say but I didn’t want to lose the chance either.  So we donned her in a life-jacket, broke out my extra pair of swim goggles and swim cap and made our way to the end of the dock.  My girlfriend was able to snap this charming photo of us:

“You go first!”

I know, I know, ‘Awwwwwwww’.  Just the two of us bonding over our mutual love of swimming; a total Hallmark moment, right?  How cute is that.  However, our conversation at the time was actually going more like this:

Me“The water’s pretty cold, huh?”

HRH“Yeah.”

Me“Maybe you should go first.”

HRH“No way!  You go first!”

Me“Uh-uh.  If there are any monsters down there I want them to get you first.”

HRH: “But you said there were no monsters!”

Me“Well, not monsters…just fish with REALLY big teeth.”

HRH:  “WHAT?!

Me“Never mind.  It’s not important.  Anyway, you should go first…”

HRH“Noooooo.  You go first.”

Me“But it’s cold.”

HRH“So?  You should still go first.”

Me“Okay, but if I’m going in first I’m going to pee to warm up.”

HRH:  “WHAT?!

Me“Nothing.  You should go first…”

We did eventually get in and she ended up loving it.  In fact, I was able to lead her out further from the dock than I had anticipated.  We played ‘shark attack’, much to the rowers chagrin, and practiced opening her eyes underwater while she paddled along so she can learn to overcome that trepidation of the whole ‘deep, dark canal’ thing.  All in all, it was a good day out…something I hope we can definitely do more of together in the future.  Who knows, maybe I might just have the next Marilyn Bell in my midst.

God help me.

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