"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Polar Bear Club

In my opinion, people who do not have an insatiable need for recreational water are insane. No really, I think that.  Maybe it's because I think I was born in the hull (in which my amniotic sac hadn't ruptured when my mother gave birth to me, so I was in fact born swimming.) I know that's not true, but you would think so because I love water as much as I love air.  Maybe it's because where I am from, kids are swimming on their own at three and four years old because summers literally revolve 100% around water activities.  It's a survival mechanism in Houston where the summer temps are close to that of the sun and the humidity is so thick that it's like breathing water.  All I know is that I live for the water.  There's nothing like diving into a pool or a lake or a spring and going down a dozen feet and just suspending yourself- arms and legs extended and feeling completely weightless as you feel the cool wrap around your body.  And you think "This is what floating in air feels like."

And my kids live for it too.  Have I indoctrinated them?  Perhaps a little.  But Cody says it must be genetic and all from their maternal side.  Cody's one of those insane people that I was talking about.  He can take or leave the water and I don't think he yet understands how vital recreational water activities are to my survival and sanity.  After 12 years, maybe he is getting it a little bit anyway.

It's one of the reasons my heart broke in half when I learned our kids were going to year-round school.  Summer isn't summer in January or March or any other month of the year when the thermometer doesn't read 90+ degrees.  From the second the air is warm enough, we're swimming.  And we don't stop until they are kicking us out at the end of the season.  Most of our summer hours are spent in water or around water or talking about water or dreaming about water.  So you can see the dilemma with the kids having "summer break" in the dead of winter.  It's just not the same.  We don't make annual trips to Disneyland or Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon or any of the other touristy places in which many people spend their summer break.  We swim.

The kids have been on break for four days now and today, I said "screw it".  We're swimming.  And it took me about an hour to get everyone's winter gear ready and packed because it may be 80 degrees inside the pool area, but outside it's about 15.  By the time we packed back up in the van my hair had frost on it.  But the two hours we spent in the water was worth it and then some.

Lauren spent almost the entire time throwing diving sticks into the deep-end of the leisure pool and diving to get them.  I can't believe my tiny Chudda can swim like that.  No fear with any of them!  So far each kid has proven to love (and need) the water just as much as the one before with absolutely no hesitation; and I ask myself if it's something I've given to them, or is it really just innate?   Are they born with it?  The summer weeks spent in Texas probably help, no doubt.  It's nice to spend each day walking out the backdoor and stepping into the pool and not having anywhere to go for hours on end.

And so we will likely spend many of our afternoons for the next two weeks at the Rec Center, making lemonade out of bitterly cold lemons- good thing we are a family of polar bears!

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