27 May 2008

Sink Or Swim

I have to believe my Son more when he tells me things. He has not learned to lie or accustomed to lying, which I am sure is a good thing. He recently told me that he could swim unassisted by any flotation devices. Just a week ago he finally made a big leap at swimming lesson, literally. For weeks he would come home from swimming lesson looking downcast because he did not make the jump. His cousins, boy and girls, jumped into the pool but he didn't. Not being the typical Asian parent who push their kids hard, I just told him to try again next time and not to feel bad about it. Again and again he would not make the jump. Then one day he did it. He even said that the first few did not count because the instructors pushed him into the water. I later learned that the instructors did do that. It took two of them, probably because, at 100 pounds, he was too heavy for any one of them. He looked very pitiful, I was told, caught between his fear of making the plunge and at the same time also afraid of being tossed again. Somehow he went through with it and on a recent stay at a hotel, I witnessed him as a swimmer. Just last month when we went on vacation west of Poconos, he was swimming around with a noodle float. He let go of the noodle every now and then to submerge then came out of the water to grab for the float, but never swam without the noodle. This time he was a totally different person in the pool. He jumped in a few times, at first sort of just walked off the edge of the pool but near the end literally jumped in. He even reached for the bottom of the pool. He could swim on his stomach or lie on his back and paddle backward, for the entire length of the pool. I am so happy for him.

Growing up as a city kid, I did not know how to swim. I can sort of swim, but only briefly, at most the length of the pool. I learned how to swim from my cousins, on mother's side, during summer vacations in maternal grandmother's countryside village. There was a canal in the front yard of the fruit orchard where I stayed. I know I started with an inner tube but cannot remember when I started to swim freely unassisted. All my cousins already knew how to swim when they were little. They lived near the river and there were houses right on the waterfront, literally on the water. Not your fancy American version of waterfront, mind you. Garbage and such would go right out the window, and other orifices, into the water, but the country kids would start to learn how to swim by going from one column to another, right underneath these houses.

I will try to get my Wife sign up for some swimming lessons. I myself can use some proper training. It is a great form of exercise and a useful skill to have.

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