School is out. Warmer weather has returned. Picnics. BBQ’s. Vacation. So much excitement comes during the summer months, including swim time.
I grew up in a home with a pool out back. As a kid, we spent many of our summer days swimming in the pool or heading over to the nearby ocean beaches with lunches packed. Swimming was an integral part of our summer and rarely did a day go by that did not involve water of some kind.
Then I hit adolesence and become aware of my body. Things didn’t grow quite evenly and on top of the normal, natural teenage self-conciousness, I now had to deal with the added issues of a very obvious body deformaty. I began wearing a shirt over my bathing suit and swimming became less and less fun. Eventually swimming lost all interest to me.
To this day I do not own a bathing suit. For the very few times I might go swimming in a summer, I hop in with shorts and a shirt. Such attire is less revealing and since I swim so infrequently, it is a perfectly reasonable excuse to not own a bathing suit.
But I have trouble distinguishing between how much of my distaste for swimming comes from PS and how much is a dislike for getting wet, apart from PS.
Mondays are “swim day” amongst my local friends. We all gather at the house of one friend and the kids swim all afternoon. Some of the moms also jump in; most of the moms sport a bathing suit of some sort and at least stick their feet in at some point. I’m quite content to sit in the shade and supervise. I may put my feet in for a while, but that’s only if I’m chatting with a friend who is doing the same. Aside from that, I’m quite content to have that conversation sitting in chairs, dry, in the shade.
Yesterday I was asked by the host/pool owner if I even own a bathing suit. My kids and I are at her house often, not just on pool day. In contrast to me, my kids are little fish. Pure logic led her to inquire as to whether I don’t swim by choice or due to a lack of bathing suit. My response to her, and to anyone that asks, is, “I get wet every morning in the shower, that’s enough for me.”
I often ponder different scenarios: if I was completely alone, no one else around, would I go in the pool then? Maybe. Possibly more often than I do now, but not for very long. I’d much rather not have the fuss of having to dry off afterwards. And if the water is shockingly cold, I see no point.
Last summer my kids and I embarked on a cross-country road trip. One of our stops was Big Bend National Park in Texas. We endured a grueling hike in the intense Texas heat for the promise of a hot springs when we finished. We finally arrived at the hot springs and I waded into the water in my shorts and shirt. The water was wonderfully warm and was quite relaxing as I sat back and rested against the stone walls.
Another stop on our trip was the coast of San Diego to visit my brother and sister-in-law. They live a short walk from the ocean so many of our days were spend on the shore, with my brother wrangling my 4 kids in the waves. I was quite content to watch from the sand, but allowed myself to be coaxed in at one point by a cute 3-year-old boy wanting Mommy to come play in the water. The water was warm enough that I wasn’t completely deterred, but I had little personal enjoyment in the activity, aside from the joy it brought my son.
So how much of my dislike of swimming is a direct result of PS?
I simply do not know. And I’m not so sure that it matters anyway. We all have likes and dislikes and that is okay. I generally, in most circumstances, dislike swimming and I’m not the only one.