Our family is a water family. We live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and are within a pelican’s swoop of water every day. Our home is within two blocks of a bayou, the Gulf of Mexico is less than three minutes from our front door, and we daily drive over Louisiana lakes and Mississippi rivers large enough to hold 97 letters in their names.
Lake Pontchartrain and Tchoutacabouffa River, we love you.
Our lives are beautifully wound through with bayous and streams and beaches and bays. I imagine my children’s memories laced with the sounds of water, full of waves and splashes and deep dives.
I picture them as teenagers, racing through the bayou on boats and crashing through waves “out front.” (Out Front is the Gulf of Mexico, our community’s front door.)
I relish the idea that the stories they’ll tell their children will be about sailing and crabbing, sunsets over the water and dolphins racing kayaks.
After eight years of raising children (and what? crossing our fingers every time we were near water?), we finally signed up all three of our kids for swimming lessons this summer. Quinn, Grey, and Iris are 8, 6, and 3. It was time.
Finding a swim program wasn’t as easy as we expected, particularly for the demand we anticipated on the Gulf Coast. We called two fitness centers and three private teachers (all booked solid) before discovering what I swear is the hidden treasure of summer adventures:
Can you imagine taking swimming lessons at a waterpark? Even better: swim lessons at a waterpark before they are open for the day!
When I told the kids we finally booked their swimming lessons and did it at Gulf Islands Waterpark, they honestly whooped with excitement. Talk about a positive foot from which to spring when proposing getting up early for several summer weeks. If your kids are like ours, they guard every summer day with a fury.
These are summer days they’ll remember forever. Days full of stories we captured and shared with the new Disney Story app, to be sure. (thanks, Disney! this was a story I needed to make a point to tell.) We wanted our family to see that we were finally on top of water safety and our friends to feel inspired to do the same.
Because as much as I hate the stories of trouble in the water this summer, it’s the stories that stick and move me to make a change. Storytelling moves me. Scary stories, silly stories, fun and brilliant stories, all of it. Meant to be shared. I remember the stories.
Swim lessons at a closed waterpark? This is what epic childhood stories are made of.
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