As everyone is well aware of now . . . I can’t swim.
When I was younger, like all the other kids, I used to spend all my free time in the water. My Mom would tease me because I would get so tan that all she could see were my eyes. Yup, I was a regular beach bum.
So what happened?
One summer, when I was 13 years old, my favorite cousin from Maui was visiting us. She and my Mom were never very close and I couldn’t understand why. Later my Mom would tell me that she just didn’t have a good feeling about her. Call it a Mother’s intuition.
Then one day, our whole family was having a picnic at the beach. My cousin and I were playing in the surf a few feet off shore. When my Mom looked up, she saw my cousin but she didn’t see me. My cousin was holding my head under water.
I’ve never found out if it was intentional or not but the damage was done. They had to call the paramedics to perform CPR on me. Ever since then, I’ve been afraid to swim. I can bring myself to go into the water but I can’t completely submerge myself. My fear runs so deep that I can’t even put my face under a running shower. I have to put the water into my hands first in order to wash my face.
So imagine how I freaked out when I learned that we had to simulate an actual emergency water evacuation in my flight attendant training class. I immediately went to the instructor and offered my resignation but she convinced me to stay and go through with it. She even assigned me to partner up with the strongest swimmer in the class. To this day, I still don’t know how I did it but I inflated my vest and jumped off the pier. My partner was waiting in the water for me and once I came up, she grabbed me and dragged me to the life raft. I didn’t want her to do to all the work so I started kicking to help out. Needless to say, I made it . . . thanks to her.
Forward to last year when my family was spending the weekend on Maui. You never know what you’re capable of until you feel your child’s life is in danger.
As most of you know, Girlie Girl was at the hotel’s water park with BIL and ended up going down the wrong slide. When I heard MIL screaming that GG never surfaced, I ran to the pool and frantically climbed the stone wall. When I saw her at the bottom of the pool, my body jumped in before my mind registered that it was over 9 feet deep. I grabbed whatever part of her I could and started kicking to the surface. I saw a pair of hands reaching over the wall and I pushed GG towards them. She was pulled to safety.
Unfortunately, now I was stuck in the pool with no help since no one knew I couldn’t swim. I tried to grab at the stone wall but wasn’t able to pull myself up since I was fully clothed and weighted down. I don’t know how many times I kept going under. However, I guess someone above was looking out for me that day since I miraculously was able to find a hand hold and pulled with every once of strength I had left. Up and over the wall I went.
Girlie Girl was shaken up but fine. I ended up with stitches on my leg and a scar that will be with me until the day I die.
Did this cure my fear of the water? Not on your life. I still can’t wade at the beach past waist level and I still can’t put my face under the shower head. I wish I could conquer this fear but I don’t know if it will ever happen. However, I do know one thing, I know that I would risk my life for the safety of my daughters. It’s just part of being a parent.
What fear would you like to conquer?