It was a typical day. I was having my daily conversation with my mom. We were talking about me getting the kids signed up for swimming lessons. I had checked into several programs and schools to find something that works for us. My mother suggested I check the Y. The YMCA was actually one of the places I hadn’t checked. It hadn’t occurred to me why I hadn’t looked into it until I was talking to my mother.

She said that I should look into the Y because their prices would surely be less than the places I was considering. Without thinking, I said that I hadn’t considered the Y because of what happened when I was little. My mother was thrown and asked me what happened? Apparently, I hadn’t told my mother about the life changing experience that happened when I was nine years old. I couldn’t believe it. I tell her everything. How could I not have told her something that I feel like I talk about all the time?



Well, here I was telling her the story. When I was in fourth grade, my school set up a program where kids who were interested could take swimming lessons through a partnership with the Y. I was in the program. Through the program I expected to learn to swim. That didn’t happen. In the class, the teacher only worked with kids who already knew how to swim. The rest of us just had play time in shallow water. That was fine with me. I just played in the water with my friends. I felt like at some point the teacher would get to us. He didn’t. Then it was time to finish the class. He told us what our assignment would be. We were ALL moving to the deep end of the water. It was twelve feet. Our test consisted of our teacher holding a metal pole over the water. We were expected to jump and catch on to the pole. Then he lowered the pole into the water. Once in the water, we were to let go and swim back up to the top. That’s all fine and good but DUDE, you never taught me to swim!

I took the test. I stood there at the deep end – scared. I didn’t want to show how terrified I was. I figured other people made it through the test and I would too. Funny, that’s how I look at life as an adult too. Anyway, I jumped and gripped the pole. I felt pretty good about me. I was lowered into the water. That’s when I began to get scared again. Once I let go of the pole, I just curled up in a ball and floated back to the top. I was so happy to see the wall of that swimming pool!!! I immediately climbed out of the water. I didn’t want to somehow get sucked back in. I was done. I had made it.

For some reason, I had NEVER shared this with my mother. She was shocked. Actually, I think she was more than shocked. She told me that had she known, something would have been done. The people involved would have definitely heard from her. She made that clear. This experience has totally kept me from learning to swim all these years. I have been nervous about it and have just plain avoided it. I am committed to taking lessons now as my kids learn. I just can’t believe that I hadn’t shared with my mom something that has followed me all this years. Crazy.


18 comments on “The Life-Changing Experience I Kept From My Mom”

  1. mmhm i wonder why you never told her….but i love her reaction and how protective she was and would have been so many years ago. that’s so sweet. and i know about making sure children learn to swim…my 10month took lessons last month and will be going back!
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  2. I had a bad swimming lessons experience and I’ve never really learned to do it well. I’m good enough to survive, but nothing fancy and I don’t even know how to dive. I was afraid to tell my parents how crummy the lessons were in fear they’d make me take more. I guess I can tell them now! I doubt they’d push me into the deep end.
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  3. I took three swimming lessons at the YWMC in Redford, MI and I can’t swim in deep water. I am good at floating on my back. But I can’t tread water. My instructors all taught me different things and I never master the skill. Now I live near a pool and I just get in the shallow end with the grandchildren. I took my daughter too and she didn’t learn how to swim either. I think now you will be able to master it.

  4. Wow. I wish we could go back in time for your mom to handle that. That is so unfair. I took lessons when I was younger as well and none of it really helped me to swim it was mostly activity against the wall. By the time I was ready for the next level, I was over it.
    Baby Teems recently posted…5 Lessons In MotherhoodMy Profile

  5. Wow, a scary story, but I really love how your mom was so very protective of you even after all these years of hearing your story. I hope that you will be able to learn how to swim and put that ordeal behind you.

    I have yet to learn how to swim, but I do want to learn. You never know when the skill will come in handy.
    KalleyC recently posted…Home School ReadinessMy Profile

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