Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jumping back in...

It has been a while since I was faithful to this blog. It seems that the pressures of motherhood, work and family responsibilities have swallowed up whatever energy, inspiration or ability to write these past few months. I have felt a constant struggle to force myself to sit and write, yet, what would be the point if what was out there was crap.

The last day of school was last Thursday. Life has not slowed down. But enough is enough. I have all but abandoned writing. And it's not fair.

But the writing isn't the only thing I abandoned.

Five years ago, I decided to face my greatest fear: learning to swim. My two older boys were learning how to swim. Andrew thought it was the most unfair thing in the whole world, especially since his mom didn't know how to swim. At 33 years old. With two kids. So the sass of my son made me get out of my comfort zone and learn. For a while. Until I got pregnant with Joshua and found my out.

My parents never thought my sister and I really needed to learn. Neither one of them were strong swimmers. For a short time, when I was about 3 or 4, my mother would let me go with an older neighbor to his neighbor's pool. I was terrified, but eventually, I looked forward to going. Until he got sick and eventually succumbed to lung cancer. My sister was the daredevil. When our next door neighbors finally had completed their pool, Angie got on the slide, and just began to swim. She was a fish.

When I had my boys, I was always fearful of them being in the water. Because deep down inside, I knew that if they were in distress, I would not be able to save them. They fought me on those swimming lessons. I stood my ground. They are excellent swimmers and now take lessons to improve their endurance and strokes.

Now, I am not learning to swim because my children need me to. Now, I am learning for me. Because it's about time. I am 38 years old. It's time to jump back in.

There are no more excuses.

I have run two half marathons in the last six months. I teach. I have dealt with a wide range of fail issues and caring for elderly family members. I have THREE boys, dagnamit. I can do this.

So yesterday, after dropping the older boys at their tennis lesson, I got back in the pool with an instructor. All decked out in my swimmer's cap (just because I'm doing this doesn't mean I have to have bad hair at the end of the summer), surrounded by toddlers learning to swim with another instructor.

Much like last time, there are two other ladies learning to swim with me. We smile at each other, encourage each other, talk about other challenges we have overcome in between learning how to breathe and kick underwater. There is a certain camaraderie in knowing that you are not alone.

Yesterday was not as hard as five years ago. My memory of almost drowning sixteen years ago seems far away, a lifetime ago. That scared girl cannot live within the body of this woman who has overcome so much.

Yesterday, I put my head under the water, and clenched my eyes, fumbling towards the surface to breathe, terrified as I opened my eyes as I surfaced, gasped, went back down.

Yesterday, as the instructor stood in the pool, coaxing what he knew I could do, I caught a glimpse of Joshua, standing near the pool, looking at me. As I looked at my son, I saw my husband. I was surprised, as I thought he would not be home until after the 30 minute lesson, in time to pick up Matt and Andrew from tennis 30 minutes later. He sat, watching me overcome my fear.

Yesterday, when I slid underwater, I opened my eyes and saw the clarity of the water. I turned my head, took in air, and stuck my head back under. I felt my body glide, arms rotating, legs kicking. When I reached the wall, I saw my son's smiling face and knew I was back.

Have you ever had a fear that seemed insurmountable? Were you able to overcome it? How do you cope with it?


  1. I am so proud of you, Maria.

  2. I'm not a natural water person but I did finally learn how to at least stay alive in the water at the age of 11. Now I'm pretty handy but, in a perfect world, would be wearing a snorkel and mask at all times! I'm with you on the hair thing, too! Great job overcoming fear. Here's a big fear I overcame recently: my book got published and I stopped being afraid of people reading my work and, especially, of my sisters reading it. This took A LOT of work!


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