JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools header image 2

Swimming in fears

November 14th, 2005 · 2 Comments

I worry. I worry about my kids. I suppose this is a mother’s territory, this enormous ocean of concerns, these waters that threaten to overwhelm me with responsibility and depth.

I remember holding the tiny babies in my arms and wondering if they would learn to walk. The journey from helpless infant, able only to kick and cry, to babbling toddler appeared enormous yet the transition took eighteen months at most. Mobility at first seems a miracle, improbable, amazing.

Now I am asking my children to learn how to swim. And that transition seems equally challenging. Will they make it? I wonder. I worry. I watch them as I take them to lessons at the pool in the afternoons this fall.

My children are being asked to become aquatic creatures. They will need to make new muscles and movements. Eyes red from chlorine, they will fail and struggle before they can float.

Thursday, as I sat on the bench, waiting for the two older girls to finish their lessons, I watched them, evaluating and worrying. Will they pass the class? Are they learning what they need to be learning? Will they float?

As the classes continue, large clock ticking on the wall, waves splash over the edge. I watch the water flow in and out and I realize how difficult it is for me to learn to swim as a mom. I struggle, sinking in anxiety. If only I could float. If only I could be flexible and fluid. If only I could be like liquid. Like love.

Floating is not fighting. I remember learning how to swim, my teacher’s gentle voice encouraging me to relax and look up as I paddled around the pool on my back, hands like fish fins at my sides. To survive in this environment, I must become aquatic. I want to be one with the water, allowing it to move me, not resisting its flow. With silent prayers and visible tears, I release the weights and worries. I release my children and myself. This will be difficult. I’ll have to make new muscles and new movements. I will struggle and fail. Slowly I will learn to swim. I will float with my face to the sky.

Img 3892

Tags: Uncategorized

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rod K // Nov 14, 2005 at 11:19 am

    Hi Julie,

    Perfect words. It is so wonderful to see the feelings we have as parents so well articulated. I wish I could translate my feelings as well as you do. I use your examples as a stepping stone to expressing my own feelings. I think of it as taking my lessons.


  • 2 Anita Rowland // Nov 14, 2005 at 11:36 pm

    eyes red from chlorine? they need swim goggles! Riley likes his “goo goo googles” just fine.

Leave a Comment