“One. Two. Three… Are you ready?” And I flew.
My Dad would say that as he brought me to the edge of the Sea.
Then he would look me in the eye and throw me into the waters.
The waters felt cool and deep. I remember that moment like it was yesterday and it always brings about all kinds of emotions.
In the waters I felt… Excitement and fear perhaps? For a short moment I would surrender to the waters around me. And let it carry me around. Eventually I would emerge, take a breathe and just float endlessly till my dad came to scoop me up and said “Well done.” Was I about 4 then? Such times were rare and this memory will be one that I would always treasure of us.
My sister came along and in primary school over the weekends on were swim days. Part of the swim training was doing laps after laps, they seemed endless. Yet how I enjoyed those times. It felt purposeful to pay attention to my swim coach and to finish all the tasks required. To get his stamp of approval. After lessons I would play with my sister and we would run around or soak in the kiddy or medium pool. We have always been close but our mutual love for swimming was one of the many factors that always brings good memories for us.
Even when our parents were going through their separation and divorce in our teens. I would bring my sister to the public pool nearby and we would swim laps after laps. We lapped up the sun and I would enjoy letting my hair float in the deep waters, diving deeply and then sinking into the bottom as i breathe out bubbles.
Sometimes, we would pretend to be mermaids looking for love or treasure. Be playful dolphins on an adventure, do the a seal wiggle or doggie paddle. I would encourage her to swim on par with me on my laps and she did as she grew stronger and confident with each swim. And just like this for an hour or so, the pain of the separation and having to deal with it as their children would disappear for that moment.
Growing up, when I was alone at the pool. I would let my fingers run on the tips of the waters. Running it back and forth gently. Listening to the gentle sound it made and the soft waves always makes me giggle.
I would reward myself after my laps of swimming by going to the middle of the deep pool, untying my hair and just sink into the depths, to the floor. I would then exhale slowly and come up. Just like I did when I was younger.
These moments felt like magic to me. Me time, my time. No-one could disturb me or that time that I had there alone. Meditating on my own thoughts. Away from distraction.
The sun would caress my back as my skin felt cool and the water still and calm around me.
When I had my first child, swimming was a part of my pre-natal exercise in Japan. The swim natal classes over there was no easy feat and I promise to write about it next time as it might take up a whole new post :).
What I enjoyed most was the part towards the end. After all our training was done. We would pair up into twos and support each other learning to listen in the water and hold our breathe and blow bubbles under it. The coach would drag out the time of holding our breathe under water just a little more each week. Looking back, I think that helped alot during labor. Being able to find inner peace and knowing how to breathe slowly and steadily made the breathing and pushing a little easier.
A few years ago, during at a beach resort I gave my husband a bit of a scare. I had declared that I was going into the choppy sea for a swim in a matter of fact way.
“Are you sure it is safe and are you good enough a swimmer…? The kids and I don’t want to lose their mother”
I heard him call out to me as I did not turn but steadily walked towards the sea.
I knew in the corner of my mind that just a moment ago I had felt contented holding my cute chubby, year old daughter. And then, I saw a family of three as they headed into the waters and swim. They being a mom and her two young kids and that had given me courage to swim try to head to the sea. The blue waters had called out to me and I could not resist their siren call.
There it was, the a rush of swimming into the unknown. The choppy waters moving and carrying me and me threading and going with the flow. Then floating on my back looking at the sky. I thought of all the creatures below me and did not really care for that a short moment. That moment made me smile and felt strangely a little more alive. It was spontaneous and wild, like a side of me that no-one had seen in a long time and it felt good to not just be that mother and wife but to have a moment of me, myself time again.
I cannot wait for my next swim and to work on the next memory and journey that it brings. Perhaps now, being older and somewhat wiser I can look at my strokes and try to see how i can make each stroke better. Maybe I can see if I could hold my breathe as long as I did before? I want to await for my sister to come home to Singapore and bring her for a nice swim again.
Life is filled with so much memories. And though the waters may be cold at times they did their job to refresh me. Other times they are warm and embrace me. Is not life like this? Filled with sadness and times of refreshing. Happiness and joy.
Have you lost the love that you felt towards something? What made you stop doing it? Why not walk that path that you had forgotten to ignite that passion once again. You might pleasantly surprise yourself and make your day!
Sending good swim vibes all the time,