When I was around 5 years old, and my brother was 3 or 4, my parents sent us to swimming lessons.
Immediately after returning from a family holiday in Pembrokeshire during which I nearly drowned.
My friend and I—my godparents’ daughter—were paddling around in the shallow water on the beach with buckets and spades and the usual seaside gubbins, when we encountered a cliff.
A chasm underwater that nearly finished us off.
One moment we were scooping up those translucent shrimp that nibble your toes, pottering along in waist-deep water; the next, we disappeared into a hole in the ground, bobbing and gasping for breath.
Because neither of us could swim.
Our dads were spark-out underneath sunhats up the beach; my mum, ever-vigilant, couldn’t quite relax if we were too near water, so she was keeping an eye on us, which meant she saw when we disappeared beneath the waves.
While panic was building up a good head of steam and galloping towards us in the form of RescueDads, we were getting on with the serious business of drowning.
I clearly remember bobbing up and down, gasping, and thinking how bright and blue the sky was. I don’t remember feeling panic. Just an eerie calm before RescueDads fished us out.
So, yes, I can swim. Now.
How about you? Set a timer for 5 minutes and share your story, even if only with yourself.
p.s. Connect with me on Instagram and share your experience with the community. Share your writing if you want to—we'd love to read it! Tag @tinybeetlesteps and follow the hashtags #moxieFEBRUARY and #tinybeetlesteps
Notes in the Margin
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