We Kilmer kids learned to swim while still minnows skimming the shallow waters. As each of us turned ten we were expected to stroke across the Payette Lake in Idaho while on summer vacation, with Dad rowing along beside us in case we started to sink.  All four of us are alive today though I am the only one still kicking. 

Yes, I am in the throes of getting re-certified as a WATER SAFETY INSTRUCTOR.  I was certified when I was young and spry, and put myself through college and grad school teaching little tykes not to drown, (when I wasn’t writing term papers for my peers who were too busy partying for research).  Having always loved small children and being in the water, I now plan to resume my career as a swimming teacher. I already have a job offer at a nearby health club, which is a big plus–having work before I am even qualified.  “Can’t beat that with a stick”, as they say in Texas.

No, getting a job is not my dilemma; rather, it’s getting this darn certificate.  Our maniacal teacher Maxine* makes Matilda’s Miss Trunchbull seem angelic.  Not only must we spend six (6) hours every Sunday in a stuffy classroom reading our Red Cross manuals, booklets, pamphlets and hand-outs (can you say redundancy?), we suffer another four (4) hours in the Aquatic Center’s chilly, smelly, over-chlorinated water.  My teeth chatter at the mere thought of these torture sessions.   There will be five (5) in all for a total of fifty (50) hours of sheer hell.

A saving grace is my classmates.*  Most are twenty-something.  Drew is a formidable athlete, having trained for Olympic swimming, Melinda, an anatomy genius/yoga instructor, Marie a brilliant, overachieving high school senior accepted to every top tier college she contacted, Monica, an M.I.T. grad/whiz closer to my age, and I–an aging, stay-at-home mom/housekeeper/blogger.  To say I am intimidated hardly seems necessary.

If all goes as planned, and it might very well NOT, I will be awarded my WATER  SAFETY INSTRUCTOR’S certificate later this month.  If somehow lady luck and the lord are on my side, I intend to celebrate with a special dinner and drinks but no drugs.  And I might never go in the water again, unless it’s for fly fishing or a warm bubble bath. 

*Names have been changed to protect myself.



  1. Susan Bromley says:

    We are pulling (or, pushing) for you Nan! Go girl. We know you can do it. You swam across that lake at 10. That was only a short time ago. S

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