Saturday, September 19, 2009


I took my daughter for her first swim lesson today. We signed her up at the neighborhood YMCA for the parent/child class on Saturdays. I put her in the car and we found a spot a couple of blocks off the Y building on Washington street. 

"Where's the beach," my daughter asked seriously as we approached the entrance. It took some time for me to explain that we would not be going to the ocean - she'd never been in a pool before. Swimming water inside a building was a new one on her.  

Our YMCA has a pool very similar to the one I took lessons in as a kid. It's in the basement of the building with just a thin set of windows on one side of the pool near the ceiling. There are tiled stairs that lead up from either side to the mens and women's locker rooms. 

"I'll make a pool at home for my bear," she said matter of factly when she saw the indoor pool, looking it up and down appraisingly, "I'll do it when I get home."

"Note to self," I thought internally at that moment, "Shut off the main water valve when we get home."

Teenagers in red suits marshaled the kids and parents through the drills. There was a lot to do. Most of the drills involved the parents holding the child while they got accustomed to being in the water. 

"Daddy, I'm doing it," my daughter said delightedly as I held her and she kicked and pulled with her arms. 

 After the instructor - a girl really - coaxed my daughter to release her vice grip on my neck, she did very well. She ended up having a lot of fun. 

"Again," she laughed at the end of the lesson, "Put me up for a jump."

It was hard to get her out. We celebrated with hot dogs and fries at the Johnny Rockets down the end of town. She was so tired from the water that by the time we got home she was sound asleep. She napped for nearly two hours. 

"Wow," my wife commented with a quiet bright smile as I carried her in the house and up to her bed. She said nothing else for fear of waking our daughter, but gave me a double thumbs up as I mounted the stairs. 

I remember that feeling as a kid. Getting so caught up in the fun that you forgot yourself and became so fatigued that you slept as if you were under a mountain or at the bottom of an ice berg. Exhaustion. Sleep. Bliss. 

Watching her exhaust herself today and sleep that gentle sleep was like watching joy. It was so powerful an experience for her that I think some of it may have rubbed off. That I've caught the feeling from my daughter like one of the many virus's that she and my son have passed to us. Or maybe its that I'm just as equally tired by the water and holding her in it - my muscles do ache. 

But there is something though that's different about the tired I feel tonight. It's a heavy tiredness, like the hazy weight that too much wine and food put on you. It's also a tiredness without angst or pain - feelings that almost always accompany a hard day on the job. I wish I felt this feeling more. 

I won't make it much longer tonight. The desire to sleep is almost as overpowering as the feelings that come with new love; compelling and desirous. Like my kid, I'll probably be asleep the minute my head hits the pillow.  

It's a shame in a way. I'd like to understand this a little more. I'd like to know how to get it back; find the formula that brings me to this place. But I suppose if I knew the way, it would stop being so wonderful. 

Good night. 


Anonymous said...

"I wish I felt this feeling more."

Go back to the pool. Often.

Is cycling an option in your neck of the woods? If you decide to go for an Amtryke I can give you some inside information.

Exercise can give that good feeling to almost everyone.

When movement on land is a challenge, movement in water offers your daughter a freedom you might not be able to imagine.

Tilly said...

Hi David,
I saw the article on Bloom about your blog, so I popped over here to check it out.
It's so refreshing to see a blog written by a daddy:) There are so many out there by us moms, but not many by dads.
I have a blog about parenting a son with hypotonia. Feel free to check it out if you have a chance. It is
I look forward to following your posts:)


David Sexton said...

Hi Barbara,
Welcome and thanks.

I do love to swim and will get over to the Y as often as I can. I'll check out the bicycling link - I gave mine up when we moved to the city. I have a lot of friends who are trying to talk me into starting up again. Thank you.

Hope you'll stop back again.


David Sexton said...

Hi Tilly,
Welcome! Thanks.

My wife has been encouraging me to blog. I resisted a little at first - she might say I was resisting a lot (she'd be right) - but I'm really enjoying it now that I've started.

I'll look forward to stopping over to your blog. Please come back when you have the time.

Take care,