Can Shamu Become a Dolphin?

She sits on the edge of the pool. Six years old.  Apprehensive. No, petrified. Breathing much faster and extremely out of her comfort zone.  The kids in the swim lesson happily jump into the water. And she does as she is told – barely.

It’s a summer day. The sun is shining. It is a perfect day to learn how to comfortably bob under the water, blow bubbles and start on her way towards a life of water confidence and triathlons.

Oh no, friends. Five minutes in, panic takes over.  Tears. The pool deck seems much safer than the water and so does her Mom, watching from afar. Out she goes.  And that.was.that.

Fast-forward 35 years, some swim lessons and a triathlon later (finally!) She is still not feeling her groove. Looking to get this swim thing down PAT. Always beating herself up for not “getting it”. Everyone else in the pool seems to. What is the big, hairy deal?

I’m sure, clever reader you have assumed by now this story is mine to tell. What happened next was so unexpected. It has stuck with me all week.

My cousin, Michael, competed as a swimmer for 13 years. He’s now in town and a Freshman in college. We got together last weekend and I begged him to get in the pool with me to give me some pointers and try to assist me with the ugliness that I call swimming.

He in his lane and I in mine. I told him to do his thing and when he was done he could tell me how bad I stunk and give me a few suggestions.  I set off on my zigzagging course. And he confidently shot off the pool wall like a bullet.

I have watched him compete before and it is exciting and so impressive. Of course it is obvious by now how I revere a swimmer. So unnatural for me. So effortless for them.


Michael in action

As I swam in my lane, what I saw under the water was simply incredible. Flawless. And who doesn’t appreciate flawless?

He was so in his domain. He had compete mastery of his craft. It was beautiful. The phenomenal flip turns, launching way off the depths of the pool. The dolphin kicks. So aptly named.  His movements imitated that of a dolphin.  It was unreal. From my vantage point, unlike anything I had ever seen under water.  Powerful, yet so smooth and graceful.

It got me to thinking, had my Aunt -his Mom- ever had this view of her son in his element? Years and years of car pooling and early morning practices day after day.  Hours and hours of sitting on bleachers patiently waiting for the gun to go off. Years of weekends filled with travel and wait. Travel and wait.  For just a moment or two of watching him compete. She has such pride in her son. He had such drive and motivation for his sport.  I called her up and encouraged her to dust off her swimsuit and make it a bucket list item that just has to be checked off soon. It’s not something I think she should miss.

How rare and how amazing to find that special something that is a natural extension of yourself. What you were called to do. The thread of who you are.  We all know it when we see it. Basketball and Michael Jordan. Shaun White and snow boarding. Meryl Streep and acting. This is swimming for Michael. The icing on the cake when it is your kid to cheer on and marvel at.

Sadly, I am no dolphin. I will never master a flip turn (or even attempt one!) But I felt so very lucky to be in the lane next to this guy. It was a rush.

Look at this face.


Born to do it. Just wish I had that grin and ease on the pool deck before I jumped in the water 35 years ago. Clearly I am scarred for life.


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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gimme a (Spring) Break!

It is Spring Break for my 10-year old son and 8-year old daughter, heretofore referred to as Techno (for his affinity for his laptop, my cell phone and the occasional X-Box session) and Twinkle Toes (it’s obvious, right?) We are not in the -land, -world, -shores. -beach or anything remotely vacation sounding this week.  We are at HOME.  Gasp!  Does anybody do that anymore??

Each morning I still get up at 6:30am because my smallest creation, 9 month-old Little Bee doesn’t know it is Spring Break and she has no notion of sleeping in.  As this week’s cruise director I am reminded each morning that Techno and Twinkle’s friends are not home. My favorite phrase du jour…What are we going to do today?

It is an act of Congress to get Little Bee fed, take a shower and do some light housework (by light I mean make sure that the dishes do not reach the ceiling, ditto the laundry). I have found that by the time I accomplish these tasks it is almost time for the next meal and the ensuing “light housework”.

Meanwhile when my mind can take a millisecond to wander I envision the scores of families enjoying a toe in the sand, a ride on the teacups or a splash from Shamu. Back to the dishes…

Easter weekend kicked off with the climax of my own terrible sinus and congestion issues.  Twinkle experienced some major gastrointestinal upset.  And in between her heaves, Techno and I decorated Easter eggs.  Peter Cottontail still had to make a stop at our house and as is customary hide the eggs that we color.

My dear husband, Ice (the love of my life and my In Case of Emergency) coughed and sputtered his way through the weekend only to find out Monday morning that he had his first case (and hopefully the last!) of pneumonia.

And before I know it it is Sunday and Spring Break is fast coming to a close.  What have we done?

Well  I can report that I had some great couch time relaxing with Ice.  I enjoyed a more complex than advertised sewing craft with Twinkle and a nice walk in the chilly air with Techno and Little Bee (WHEN will Spring come to the Midwest??)  I managed to ignore most of the housework that desperately needed doing, showed Little Bee the finer points of riding my knees like an airplane and was taught a new card game by Twinkle.  We enjoyed the Final Four games with good friends (go Wolverines!) and busted a few moves with Just Dance Greatest Hits.

I am thoroughly sick of watching the dust bunnies float by and if I am subjected to one more laugh track on a Disney show I will most certainly feel the need to scream.  But damn I sure do enjoy the company I keep.  Can we do this again next week?  I’m just not ready to deal with the bunnies – dust not Peter Cottontail.