And that's even more poignant given the lesson I filled in for an absent coach. There was an adult on my schedule. Oh great. Adults bring lots of baggage to learning to swim. I'm not a psychologist - I'm an infant swim teacher.
So the woman gets in and tells me it's her second lesson and what had been worked on previously. We went to the other end of the pool so she wouldn't feel embarrassed. She told me when she was young, she remembered being in a group swim lesson and was told to jump in. All she remembers is seeing the numbers at the side of the pool and someone jumping in to get her. Learning to swim "is on my bucket list," she told me and "this isn't my first rodeo." She told me of the other times she's tried to learn.
Now I'm really thinking: how the heck do I get through this and not traumatize this woman further? This is going to be a lonnnngggg 30 minutes.
We blew bubbles. Her hands shook at the side of the pool. She fully submerged in the water and her body was visibly shaking. "Let's kick down and back to get ride of that nervous energy," I said.
Five minutes left in the lesson. She held the kickboard out in front of her, I wrapped my arms around her waist and suggested she lay prone and blow bubbles again. Again. I moved my hands to either side of her hips. "Bubbles, again."
One minute left in the lesson. "Bubbles and this time kick." She kicked 3 feet to the wall without me. "You just swam."
She smiled, she laughed, we high-fived, we hugged. "I did it. I never thought I'd swim!" she said. I thought I'd cry.