How I Learned To Love The Water

A few years ago there was a large water leak somewhere on my street. It was so big, the whole entire street took a shower. My daughter went into the swimming pool with me just to stay safe. By the end of the storm we did not use the pool. I can’t say that I’m happy about the mess inside, but I am better off for it.

I walked down the street with my children during Sandy, but I didn’t go right into the water and risk my life. My older daughter stayed in the living room and listened to the radio. I kept up the conversation in the front room. Our neighborhood is in an upscale area and we like to watch a sports show or listen to music on the radio on occasion, so we had no inclination to go swimming. I guess when it came to the safety of our children, my instinct was to avoid any chance they had of getting a serious illness from the nasty water. I am fortunate – I am the oldest and I know how to swim. But I am sure that if my children were older – maybe if they had grown up in a place like I did – that they might have been inclined, or at least prepared, to go swimming. It’s not that I don’t enjoy swimming. I really do! But it’s the fact that I am so used to the city’s swimming pool that sometimes I worry my children will think water is somehow somehow dirty or threatening, like it’s something to be avoided. My wife thinks I should let them experience their first “real” swimming experience someday, which I am not about to grant her wish. And I worry about drowning accidents. We’ve never had a child die. But it does worry me all the time. I want to be proactive and make sure they are well prepared.

What I’d do: If I had two younger sisters I know might like swimming, but I would at least want them to go once in the summer and at least be a little afraid of it. And I’d always leave the pool door open. As for the swimming pool, I haven’t used it for a long while. I think my daughter’s little sister would enjoy it and her dad, who lives over at the same house, might help her get her swimmies on (like I did). My older daughter and hers might enjoy pool swims in the future if and when they get out of school and feel ready to try it out. I don’t know if this is possible but I would hope that the city would allow for some sort of pool-building program that would create “safe waters” that are separated from the city’s swimming pool, so that we could all go to a local swimming pool whenever and wherever we wanted for the summer.

But I was reading today about a girl who went swimming on a hot day and ended up getting burned. It sounds like you both went out and swam but your children were only in diapers, not in swimsuits and that’s when the water got hotter and more dangerous. And there is one other parent out there that swam with her children on the day that the fire erupted. I wonder if your children’s parents tried to have them out, but you said you had taken everyone inside?

— Sandra  (the “N” in my name!)

I was a little surprised when she described her situation as if she’s in denial – and she is. I guess that my husband and I took it a step further and said, “Oh my God, that’s not happening to us!” And they thought to themselves, “Oh no! We’re not going to go swimming!” I also wonder if the parents talked to their children about the dangers of swimming. How could you not prepare your kids about it, but I have mixed feelings about going out on a hot day in a hot pool. It sounds like an ideal vacation activity, but is it really worth it?

My husband also swam with their family, when it was safe to do so, and we watched the same TV shows that we always watch with our daughters – not only “The View,” but “Full House,” “Saved by the Bell, “Family Matters,” “Saving Grace,” and “Beverly Hills 90210.” So we were already up to speed.

My older one swam in the summer, but that one time she got burned and she didn’t want to go to school because she felt so bad.