Monday, January 13, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

Quinn has become a big fan of Finding Nemo, even though I'm pretty sure he doesn't fully understand the story line (probably a good thing). He loves watching the turtles, the fishies, and even the sharks. This was my Facebook status update on January 7th. 
I have alluded to Quinn's swimming lessons here before, but not really gone into much detail about one of my favorite parts of our week. There's no particular reason for the omission except this time of ours didn't seem sufficiently related to cancer for me to share it here. Then, last week, we were back to swim lessons after a two-week holiday hiatus, and I knew I could no longer keep the pure joy that my son derives from the water to myself; I had to share it with you all, cancer-relevance or not. 

This video is from November. He does a lot more actual swimming now, but note his lack of fear or hesitation. Also, the pink goggles, which were his choice. Maybe it's just me, but I could watch this over and over and over again. It just doesn't get old. 

The swimming lessons began as a gift from Chris' Aunt Kathie for Quinn's second birthday last March. Due to my swap-out surgery and complications from that, though, we didn't start them until around Memorial Day. For several months, Quinn screamed and fought me at every turn for the thirty-minute sessions, to the point where I strained my damn wrist trying to keep him from drowning. I figured it just wasn't meant to be, my son and the water. So much for him being a Pisces, I figured.

Then, toward the end of September, something clicked, and suddenly I couldn't keep him from going under. "We've created a monster," his instructor said to me, looking at me like "Who is this kid?" Now, our biggest challenge is getting Quinn to follow instructions. He just wants to swim on his own terms, whether he actually knows what he's doing or not.

Every Tuesday afternoon, I take Quinn to the swim school, and since October, we have also spent most Friday nights at "Family Swim," an hour-long open swim at the pool. Quinn sleeps so well after swim lessons, so why not double up during the week, right? When Chris is in town and doesn't have work commitments, he joins us on Fridays, but Quinn and I have spent a lot of time on our own in that pool. I love seeing the progress he makes from week to week, love watching his confidence blossom, love that he loves the water as much as I did as a kid.

When I was going through my first round of chemo, my college friend Yumi sent Quinn the famous book, "Make Way for Ducklings," about a family of ducks that finds a home in Boston. At one point in the book, the father has to go away for a week, during which time the mother duck teaches all the ducklings how to avoid getting run over, how to walk in a straight line behind her, and how to dive and swim. "Just like me!" Quinn says now, when we read it.

Just like you, my little duck/fish.