When I was a kid, my number one favorite thing in the world to do was swim. I didn't care if it was in a pool, a lake, a horse trough, a backyard puddle; I loved to swim. For about 10 years the only thing on my Christmas list to Santa was a swimming pool. I never did get a backyard pool, and, over the years, my love for swimming has waned a little. My children love the water just as much as I did as a kid, but my feelings have slightly changed. Here are the top reasons why:
Let me start with the locker room. Is there anything worse than trying to change your clothes in a steaming hot sauna with wet, fungus-growing floors and soggy toilet paper stuck all over? If I manage to find a stall to change in, I spend the whole time trying to shove my sweaty body into Lycra while screaming “DON’T OPEN THAT!” at my child as he's trying to open the stall door.
Then there's the actual water. Looking at all the people swimming at that water, their feet, their long hair….. I can't handle it. It is best just not to think about it.
Should we think about the bodily fluids? No, we probably shouldn't. But if we were to think about all the pee and snot and saliva we are swimming in we would vomit. There is probably vomit in there, too.
When I am training for triathlons I swim laps at the gym. Inevitably, there is always a dude who is swimming laps as well and always has some sort of nasal issues. Why do guys do that gross, snorting thing where they blow snot from the back of their throats? That is disgusting. Especially in a pool.
For a while, simply the idea of wearing a bathing suit in public was always a little disconcerting, but now that I'm edging closer to 40, I really don't give a crap about how I look in a swimsuit. If anyone has issues with it that's their problem not mine. But there are other swimwear concerns that come with engaging in family water activities.
Case in point: a friend and I recently took our kids swimming at a local pool. We decided that rest break/ adult swim was the perfect time for us to have a cannonball contest off the diving board. We knew, of course, that this would mortify our children. Which was exactly why we did it.
I went first. I jumped in the pool in what I imagined to be a perfectly executed cannonball, but which was, I'm sure, more like a flailing hippo rolling into the pool. As soon as my body hit the water, my tankini floated up to my neck. I had to adjust myself before I could finally emerge. I was underwater so long I'm pretty sure the lifeguard was preparing to save me.
Then my friend jumped in. Her cannonball was much more graceful than mine. When she got out of the water, however, the inserts in her swimsuit had formed themselves into cones. She could have been in a Madonna video.
At a waterpark with my family recently I was walking around the place after going down a waterslide with my daughter when, from a distance, my husband started gesturing to me frantically. He was too far away for me to hear what he was saying so I was looking around me thinking that one of our kids needed help. He eventually made his way to me wading past a chain of floating tubes in the lazy river and said "you need to fix your swimsuit". I thought for sure one of my boobs was hanging out, but when I looked down I saw that they were both securely in place. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Then I looked lower and realized that my tankini bottoms were slid way over so that I was showing my lady bits to all of kingdom come.
Then there was the superspeed water slide that plummets you straight down with such force that your swimsuit bottoms go so far up your butt crack you are sure they are now part of your small intestines. I needed an episiotomy after that one. And an epidural. That shit hurts.
Which leads me to my next point:
I don't know at what point I officially became an old lady, but that day is here. The water slides at the water park were at the top of a 77 step set of stairs. We went down those slides approximately 19,694 times. Which means we climbed up---- well, I'm not great at math (especially after the mild concussion I got after hitting my head on the side of the water slide), but that's a freaking lot of steps. My quads hurt so bad at the end of the day I thought I would need a stretcher to get me out of that darn place.
The next morning I woke up with a horribly sore neck. I realized it was sore neck muscles from holding my head up while I went down the slides. Geez.
Sometimes when I take the kids to the pool I will swim laps during the 10 minute rest breaks. I tell my kids it’s because I need the exercise, but, really it’s so I don't have to listen to the kids argue over who gets more snacks. One day I swam more laps than usual, it felt like 4 miles. My kids informed me that I had swam a 400 meter. I felt pretty proud of myself, and pretty exhausted. My kids informed me that a 400 meter is their warm-up for swim team. My exhausting workout is their WARM-UP!
Swimming pools no longer hold the allure that they did when I was a kid, but I do have a very good understanding of my kids’ adoration of all things water. Which is the only explanation for why I endure all the pee water, floating hair balls, and swimsuit malfunctions. Making summer memories over here, y’all!