I’ve just returned from vacation somewhere sunny with my boyfriend; my love. We spent lots of time by the beach and pool. It was plenty relaxing, which is exactly what we wanted this time around. I personally prefer the beach over the pool, but if I decide to actually go in the water, I opt for the pool–that way I don’t have to deal with the ocean’s current and crashing waves when trying to move in the water.
I actually cannot swim, despite my and my parents’ best efforts to teach me with classes and such. I can recall that the classes at the local pool were constructed in terms of levels…and I could never pass the very first one. Even then, it was obvious that I needed private instruction, but the waiting lists for that were always super long. It would be years before I partook in one-on-one classes, but that didn’t last and I can’t remember why.
Anyway, flash forward a bunch of years to this sunny vacation. It was above 80 degrees, and I heated up fast in the sun. To cool off, I decided to go in the pool. Fortunately, my boyfriend used to be a lifeguard–and is a great swimmer. He assured me he would go in the water with me and keep a careful eye on me in the pool. So, I grabbed his hand and carefully made my way down the steps and into the water. It was crisp and refreshing, much to our delight.
Slowly walking in the pool was quite an experience. My legs felt so much lighter than normal, like I was walking on air. My muscles were much more relaxed than normal; I wasn’t as tense. It’s obvious that swimming is excellent exercise, but it’s also excellent in general for my disability. So although I haven’t full-on swam just yet, walking around in the water has many benefits as well.
Then came a moment between my boyfriend and me that I’ll never forget: he had never seen me walk in a pool before. He didn’t know that I’d be able to wade through the water unassisted, albeit slowly. When I finally let go of his arm and began walking beside him all by myself, his whole face lit up and he smiled wide. “I’ve never seen you walk without me holding you,” he said. “That’s amazing!”
I already knew I could walk in the shallow end of the pool unassisted, but I still absorbed my boyfriend’s enthusiasm. I could see how proud he was of me, and I couldn’t help but feel proud of me too. You know that expression, “There are plenty of fish in the sea?” While I feel that is true, I definitely found mine. With my love by my side, it feels like I can do anything. That kind of positive energy and unwavering support is sacred and priceless. Let me tell you right now, I’m really going to need it in the weeks that lie ahead.