Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Children are Growing Older, Thankfully, I Am Not.

My health care professional, in this case a Nurse Practitioner, tells me I have to lose weight. I have a couple of problems with that; first, she is just a practitioner. Now if she were an Expert, or even a Highly Trained Professional, I would feel better. I am reluctant to let someone ‘practice’ on me.

Secondly, I think her scale is broken. I have no evidence to support this belief; I just think it is broken. And I value my opinion quite highly.

Either way, I have decided I need to exercise more. When I was first married, I used to run quite a bit. By ’quite a bit’ I mean often, although not necessarily far. That was the only way I could keep up with my wife; she moves like a bolt of lightning. When I got a bit older, and my knees started to file complaints with the labor relations board about how I abused them while running, I began swimming.

I remember swimming with my girls as they grew up. They would splash in the shallow end and come over between my laps to tell me of the amazing things that happened while they played in the water. Then they grew older and would swim a few laps with me, before wandering off to the deep end to dive from the diving board.

I remember the amazement the girls would express as they swam hard to keep up with me. I would slow down and swim leisurely, but they were little and it was still difficult for them to keep pace.

Then, about five years ago, I started working a few extra jobs, and swim time went away. At least for me. The girls got involved with the synchronized swim club at their school.  And Middlest just recently took, and passed, her class to be a life guard.

Now, this summer, I decided to swim again. It has been five or six years, and a few extra pounds, after I stopped swimming regularly. After three or so laps, Littlest comes along side me at one end of the pool and asks how I am doing. I tell her it feels good to be swimming again. She grins, “Yeah, fun, isn’t it.”

I nod and start off on my fourth lap. I get to the other end of the pool and prepare to turn around, when I realize that Littlest is hanging on the edge of the pool, awaiting my arrival. I stop abruptly and take off my goggles, just to be sure I am not seeing things.

I look back to the far end of the pool, then back at my daughter, then around the pool and finally back at my daughter, who looks at me innocently, but with that twinkle of merriment in her eye that says, “ooooo, this is gonna be so much fun.”

“Where did you come from?!” I ask.

“I swam here,” she replied in a calm, un-winded voice, as opposed to my heavy gasps for precious oxygen.

I searched for a snappy come back, but my oxygen-deprived braincells were not firing properly. I just shook my head.

Eldest has celebrated her last birthday as a teenager and is going to Guatemala soon. Middlest, at sixteen, has completed her training as a life guard and is ready to save lives. And Littlest, at halfway through her second decade, can swim way faster than I can.

I am thrilled my daughters are growing into such wonderful young women. And I am proud to be their father who is holding steady at twenty-five.

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