A Healthy Stepmother . . . Becomes a Master Swimmer.

My parents loved the water and we spent hours as a family on the banks of the North and South Umpqua rivers in Douglas County, Oregon. There is no time in my memory we were not in and around water and we learned to swim early and well.

Because we were around the water from birth, there was no fear, no trepidation, just sheer unadulterated joy at the buoyancy and freedom one felt while in the water.

Do you remember learning to swim? Weren’t you exposed slowly and gradually and over time, lots and lots of time? Can you imagine getting lessons in becoming a stepmother (or a mother for that matter) over time, lots and lots of time? What if someone took you by the hand and said, this is the dog paddle, this is the side stroke, this is a shallow dive, and this is how to deep dive.

English: Aerial view of the mouth of the Umpqu...

Aerial view of the mouth of the Umpqua River on the Pacific Ocean near Reedsport, Oregon, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What if there was a time to practice after you’d been introduced into your stepfamily, a time when no one judged you because you weren’t good enough yet. A time when they understood you were learning.

Yes, we have learning to do. Not learning how to be perfect or learning how to make everyone happy. We have everything to learn, from dipping a toe in without getting wet to taking a dive into the deep end. We can learn slowly so we get comfortable and understand what is expected. We can learn the rules of team swimming and how to get the most out of being in the water.

Unfortunately, most often we stepmothers dive in and find ourselves struggling and gurgling and swallowing some water and the waves seem really big and sometimes we get swept under where it’s really dangerous and there’s a possibility of rip tides. Anyone who’s lived in a place where the ocean floor drops quickly away from the beach knows what I mean about rip tides. They are treacherous and they are real. Rip tides exist in stepfamilies and it’s good to know how to recognize them.

Tomorrow is the 7th anniversary of marriage for me and my wonderful husband and we have learned much about swimming together. We have the dog paddle and the side stroke to keep our heads above water. We have the freestyle to zip through the water and make headway. And thank goodness, we know the survival float which is all about resting and conserving energy until help comes.

Looking back, I can see when I needlessly jumped in without looking around to see what was going on. Now, I have enough experience in my stepfamily to know I should walk around the deck or the shore before jumping in so I get the lay of the land, or the lay of the rocks.

I say let’s embrace beginning swimming. Let’s embrace being a beginner in general. Let’s settle in to learn the tried and true techniques of keeping our head above water, improving endurance, and maximizing agility. Soon enough we’ll have enough skill to dive off the high dive, soon enough we will be Master Swimmers.

Until then, let’s go slow and let’s be okay in the not-know.

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6 thoughts on “A Healthy Stepmother . . . Becomes a Master Swimmer.

  1. Love it, Kim! Thanks for the interesting analogy! Spent the weekend (a long one up here in parts of Canada) in a remote lake….trying out snorkling! It was wonderful how peaceful it felt and how strong I felt….took it at my own pace with good company nearby. My thoughts are often with this group and I treasure the connection 🙂

    • Shelley, love it! I hadn’t thought of snorkeling in my memories of swimming, likely because we didn’t do much of it. But, it sure fits, doesn’t it? Glad to hear you’re well and enjoying what nature offers. Thanks so much for keeping in touch and continuing to read the blog!

  2. “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind, there are few.” (Shunryu Suzuki Roshi)

    • Many possibilities, that’s what awaits. I embrace beginning. Most days lately, that’s exactly how it feels. Just when I get in a routine or think I have, there’s some new thing the teenager thinks he should be able to do or a new thing my elderly father thinks he should do without supervision. It’s not so much about being on my toes as it is knowing when to quit jumping up to do the safety rescue. 😉 Thanks for reading!

    • Glub, glub……haha, no it’s going well these days. One day, I’ll take the gag off myself (I originally committed to not telling stories on my family) and tell some of the stories that started out sadly or badly and morphed into really quite okay. There is a future for we stepmothers, and it is now.

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