Panic at the pool confirms need for swimming lessons

After successfully enrolling my kids into swim lessons, (which was harder than it should have been), we have been spending two evenings a week at the Four Seasons Leisure Pool. On weekend day evenings, it is fairly quiet and largely filled with kids in lessons and moms and dads, in bare feet with their pants rolled up, sitting on the wooden bench relegated to holding jackets and towels.

Last week was the parent observation lesson.My son's instructor said that he was doing well but he lacked confidence in the water and needed some practice.He is turning eight this year and he has been pushing for a little more independence which coincided with these remarks.

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For these reasons, and a general need to learn to let go a little, I agreed to let him swim in the pool while my daughter's lesson was going on. I was rubber-necking between the baby pool and the waterslide pool making sure that I could see him and watch her lesson.

When it came time to talk with her teacher, I watched her and her little friends glide enthusiastically into one another as they were showing off their skills they have been working on. I turned to see where my son was and I couldn't see him.

I looked again. Not there.

I ran over to the pool and he was nowhere to be found. I looked at the other pool, not there. He had gone to the bathroom less than five minutes before he was in the water so the only place he could have been was in the pool.

I was in a full-blown panic and I believed I was repeating incessantly, "I can't find my son." I ran to one lifeguard who said I needed to tell the other lifeguard and I ran up to the lifeguard who I had seen my son talking to earlier.

The lifeguard asked me how old my son was and if he could swim. I said that he couldn't swim very well and I don't remember if I ever told the young lifeguard how old he was.

I am pretty sure that all I was saying was that I couldn't find my son. Then the whistles started blowing and I died a little inside.

The mom who I was chatting with at my daughter's lesson said check to the bathroom and the lifeguard ran in to the men's room and yelled out that he had him. My son came out and I grabbed him in a half-wet hug while I shudder-sobbed.

Wondering why all of the people in the pool were staring at us, he told me that he had to go pee and he thought I knew he was in the bathroom. I asked him gently how would I know if he was in the bathroom when he didn't tell me? He sort of shrugged, apologized and asked if he could go back in. I let him once he had a thorough understanding that he must stay in the pool area and actually speak to me if he had to leave.

Then I lost my coat in the family locker room.

It was a hard evening and I am so grateful to the lifeguards and for the other parents who were there with me when I had lost my mind. Now we have signed up for more lessons and, if nothing else, they will become better swimmers and have more confidence in the water.

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