For as long as I can remember I have been able to swim.
There’s a photograph of baby me in a pool with my mom in the family albums.
Mom was a lifeguard growing up, so I’m sure she taught me to swim, and then followed up insisting I take lessons every year after that.
Those were the days when we grew into the next level of the Red Cross program because lessons were only offered in the summer months.
Growing up in Nelson we swam in Kootenay Lake, or one of two outdoor pools.
Gyro Park pool was for littler people, unless we teenagers braved the fence at night when no one was around and went for a dunk. The few times I did that it did seem pretty magical.
For several years our family rented a home located a few blocks from Lakeside Park.
At the park we swam at the beach during the day and most evenings in the outdoor heated pool.
For night swimming, I came up with a peculiar idea.
Our gang would change into our swimming suits and pay for swimming, getting a stamp on our hands.
Surprising the woman at the ticket booth, we’d turn around, run down the beach and jump into the lake for a few minutes.
Then we’d hurry back up, wave our stamped hands at the ticket window, rush inside to the pool, fake a shower, and then jump into the pool, exclaiming happily how warm the water was.
One of my fondest swimming memories involves a week long vacation on a houseboat with my friend and her family on the east arm of Kootenay Lake.
We swam in the morning, at noon and night.
The houseboat took us to beautiful beaches where the water was so clear that we could see the bottom.
At night I’d lie in my bunk, the boat rocking in the waves, thinking I was in heaven.
With all the talk about drowning in the news this week it got me thinking how lucky I am mom taught me to swim.
I saw a video on the Internet last night about teaching babies to roll over in the water onto their backs to save their lives.
It brought back memories of taking my oldest daughter to the pool when she was a baby and how terrified she was.
She clung to me crying and crying. I didn’t try again for a few years.
Today Anna is 28 and out of all our kids I think she loves to swim the most.
In fact, her birthday is on Nov. 18 and every year she celebrates with a swim in a local lake or ocean.
I hate to admit it, but I have done the opposite of Anna.
As an adult I decided I didn’t like being cold and gravitated more and more to only wading in the water.
Then last July our family discovered Till Lake about 45 minutes west of town.
I swam there on Canada Day and several times throughout the summer.
A new bathing suit is tucked in my dresser reminding me every day I’ve got to make sure I swim often this summer too.
After all, I owe it to mom for teaching me to swim and to myself because I really do enjoy it so much.
Monica Lamb-Yorski is a staff writer with the Williams Lake Tribune/Weekend Advisor.