I had such a lovely swim last weekend; doing lengths in the swimming lane, splashing about in the main pool, relaxing in the Jacuzzi and simply dissolving in the Steam room and Sauna. It was two hours of pure bliss, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
As I gently floated along, starfish style in the tepid waters; gazing out through the chequered windows at the greenery beyond shimmering in the cold early morning light, I got to thinking....
It wasn't always like this. Peaceful swimming . It used to be a different kind of fun - and a bit of an ordeal too!
When he was a baby I just couldn't wait to introduce him to the water. He was going to be a water baby for sure.
How he splashed his way through his water-winged toddler years in (very!) local, hotel or foreign pools.
It was fun and wonderful to see but it was completely hands on. You know what I mean. There's not much length swimming, Steam Room dissolving or sun worshipping going on when you're child-watching by pool or by beach! But you wouldn't change it for the world, the memories we have that time itself can never erase. Besides, as it turns out, it doesn't last forever.
Being the responsible parent you bring them to swimming lessons, so that they're confident in the water, can eventually ditch the water wings and can have more fun. And can ultimately become more independent too. Well, that steam room and sun-lounger constantly beckons after all!
You religiously sit pool-side through every lesson your child ever had. And you feel your heart fluttering in your mouth as the silly swimming instructor brings the little 5/6 year olds up to the deep end, in only week 5 of the term. He can't see the pure panic in your eyes, but you see the look of pure joy and excitement in your child's eyes.... 'look at me mum, look at me'!! Turns out the 'silly instructor' actually knows what he's doing so you eventually relax. You begin to let go, just a little.
Your child does indeed become more confident and you enjoy 'swimming for fun' sessions together, all the while ensuring he doesn't accidentally stray into the deep end. Keeping him safe. As your favourite hotel pool is not too deep you begin to be able to grab a few rushed minutes in the Jacuzzi. Alone. All by yourself. He's still within your line of vision, happily splashing about with water-wings on.
Then you have the changing-room dilemma years, when your 7 year old boy is apparently old enough to go into the men's dressing room to shower and dress himself. Alone. All by himself. I think not! Thankfully there follows a couple of years of school swimming lessons - in a pool with Holiday Village style changing rooms. Lessons learned, problem solved.
And then suddenly things come full circle and none of the above applies. None. Before you know it you're spending time alone in the Jacuzzi and Steam Room. Alone. By Yourself. Secure in the knowledge that your fully-fledged swimmer of a son is perfectly safe in the pool. Bliss!
He's even more confident and independent at the beach and in water parks too. In fact you hardly see him at all at the Spanish water park this year. He however sees you: the oldest mum in the pool doing Aqua aerobics - Gangnam Style!! Well, why not I ask you, why not?! But perhaps the less said about my underwater twerking moments the better!
You do your best, as a parent, to prepare and empower them. In life, as in the pool. As time goes by and without realising it, you've instinctively taken a step (or ten) back, while also keeping a discreet eye on proceedings. Your boy has transitioned nicely from supervised to solo swimming (and dressing!), from Primary to Secondary school and from being driven to school to using public transport. Alone. All by himself.
And then it suddenly hits me.
In a mere four years time, college aside, his childhood school years will be complete. Four years?? Good Lord, how on earth did that happen?! When conceivably he'll be doing everything solo. Or perhaps in partnership - with someone who is not his mother!
The thoughts that swim through your mind as you float starfish style in the tepid waters. Surrounded by the endearing sounds of the next generation of water-winged toddlers and young children, and their doting and very attentive parents. Their time will also come, all too soon.
Their childhood years are all so fleeting. Best make the most of his company while I still have it, I think to myself.
And I do, I really do. You see I'm no longer alone on my forays into the Jacuzzi and Steam Room. As he's nearly the acceptable age, and definitely has the acceptable behaviour, I now allow him to accompany me and we relax together in the comforting heat.
I'm not alone doing lengths in the swimming lane either.
There he is, swimming ahead of me, leading the way........