In the Deep End

My internal clock buzzes and I slowly roll off my side of the mattress. The baby boy stirs and I reach out my hand to quiet him. He drifts back to sleep (barely), as I fight to move my legs out from under the warm comforter and into my well-worn slippers. Sweats, hoodie, not bothering with a bra.

I slip out of the room and awake the house with the squeak of the stairs. The dining room is dark, cold, and unfamiliarly still as I grab the keys to start the car. 

The preschooler has dance class this morning, so I walk softly to the kitchen and turn the slow-cooked oatmeal from low to warm. The fruit is cut, and I leave my husband a note with instructions.

I grab my backpack, carefully placed by the front door the night before and sling it over one shoulder, granola bar half in my mouth and I smile as I think of my ensemble resembling a 17-year-old boy. 

The fresh layer of snow is waiting for my footprints as I make my way to the car, desperately in need of scraping. The thick layer of white acts as another barrier, or an excuse for me to turn around and head back to bed.

The dash reads 6:45 am.

I’m driving down the back lane that is yet to be plowed. The radio volume has been left set on loud, and Adam Levine is coming through the dashboard, giving me the final push to reverse out of the driveway. Forty degrees below freezing and I’m driving to the pool. I almost laugh.

I squeeze my small frame into my black Speedo one piece. It hugs tight, giving no grace to my backside. I pull on my swim cap on with a snap; my eyes shut tight as the latex tugs my hairline. I secure my goggles on my forehead. I pass the mirror but do not glance for fear of the costume I’ll see. Even though I want to, there is no hiding as I make my way to the pool deck.

I feel like an imposter as I join the well-seasoned swimmers in the lap area. The get-up says high school-swim-team-captain-turned-mom, when in reality I’m just a Mom who is somewhat afraid of water and needs the extra exercise. “Fake it till you make it,” I tell myself, although I’m unsure what my body plans on doing once it’s submerged. I pick my lane, crouch, and hesitantly slide in.

….

To read the rest of this essay, head to Kindred Mom Blog where it was published on March 29, 2019.