Dear Aaron & Aanakin: Try your best if you believe it is worthwhile
Dear Aaron and Anakin,
Mommy just started the training for the lifeguard certification last night. I am writing this down so that later in your life time, when you are ever hesitate to do something, thinking that you are too old, I hope my story will be an inspiration.
After I have been teaching baby swimming in the past 6 years, I think my next move would be to become a trainer. However, Birthlight requires that all trainer candidates must be a certified swimming teacher first. When I looked into it, Taiwan’s swimming teacher certification requires that you be a certified lifeguard first. I did my research and talked to a number of experts, but thought the prerequisites nearly impossible for me at age 40. Specifically, the qualifying test to join the lifeguard training program is to swim 200 meters within 6 minutes. I don’t know how old you are while you are reading this, but this prerequisite is really difficult for me. I had only attended one summer of swimming class when I was in first grade, and I nearly drowned in that experience. Then, I pretty much self-taught myself how to swim breaststroke and had enjoyed swimming tremendously. However, I had never tried, nor had I ever had the reason, to swim with speed. Anyway, even though becoming a Birthlight trainer is what I want to do, I was not sure how to reach that goal.
Then, last Wednesday, after my baby swimming class, I was chatting with a mom, Lillian, giving her my perspective of a second career with Birthlight so that she may consider taking the training. I was sharing with her my plan of becoming a trainer and my obstacle in obtaining the swimming teacher certification because of my age. Just then, her mom, the grandma of the baby, jumped in and said she got her lifeguard certification and swimming teacher certification at age 50! I was in wide-eye awe. 50!! That is 10 years more than my current year! What excuse have I got then? At that moment, Lillian and I committed to taking the training.
Last night was the training prerequisite test and the first of 10 days of classes. Lillian and I were in the same lane. I started the first 50 meters with freestyle, but the time I got to the other end, I was completely out of breath. I tried to do freestyle back, but I just could not catch my breath. I switched breaststroke, but still could not breath. At the end, I had to switch to head up breaststroke. I took a break, then kicked off again in freestyle, but was only able to cover 10 meter or so because I had to switch to breaststroke for the remaining 40 meter of the lap. On the last 50 meter, I again tried to do freestyle, but it was impossible, so I end up swimming back in head up breaststroke again. Needless to say, my time was WAY over the 6 minute requirement… in fact, I was only happy that I finished the 200 meters!! There were times that I so much wanted to quit, especially hanging on the railing, seeing so many eyes on me. I preyed and I continued and I finished.
Fortunately, the trainer agreed to let me join the program, but he also told me that I may have difficulty passing the certification exam at the end of the training. Well, I obviously jumped at the offering to join the training. After all, if I don’t try it, how do I know I cannot?!
For the remainder of the night, we were taught head up breaststroke and head up freestyle. I did the head up breaststroke relatively well, since that is the style that I do with you, then later Anakin, hanging on my back. But when it came to head up freestyle, I nearly drowned again! I did it more like a doggy paddle and an almost drowning one at that. I am still clueless at this point as to how I am going to swim the head up freestyle when my head down freestyle isn’t very good to begin with…
Anyway, I still have a strategy. I will perfect my head up breaststroke and head down breaststroke, then try to do an acceptable freestyle, then a barely passing head up freestyle. If the scores average out, I should still pass… I think.
Dear Aaron and Anakin,
Today is the exam at the end of the 10 days training. I thank you so much for being understanding for mommy and being responsible for yourself. Aaron, you have been going to bed before mommy gets home and wakes up on your own in the morning for school. Anakin, even though you waited up in the past two nights since Babi had been away on the business trip, you couldn’t keep up tonight and was sound asleep when I just walked in. I thank you for not throwing tantrums in the past 10 days even though you have very limited time with mommy.
Well, unfortunately, mommy didn’t pass. After all that you’ve suffered on my behalf, I failed. I am sorry. But you need to know that I have tried my best and nearly killing myself doing so.
The swimming test contained:
1. Swimming 200M with head up freestyle, head up breaststroke, side, and backstroke within 5min 30 seconds.
2. Submerge dive for 20M with one breath
3. Swim freestyle for 25M, dive in to pick up an android filled with water (my guest is ~20kg because it felt much heavier than Anakin), then swim for 25M dragging the android
4. Stay above water fro 3min and float for 3min
The 4th item was a piece of cake for me, but the other 3 were very challenging. For the submerge dive, I had only been able to do 10M up to Sunday! And for the 200M swim, my time at the entrance exam was over 10 minutes!
Tonight, I passed everything except the 200M, which I swam 6 minute 30 seconds. The passing time is 5 min 30 seconds, so I failed. However, I was not the longest one, mind you! I beat 3 girls half my age!
Even though I am disappointed to the point that I shed a few tears, I am so very proud of what I have accomplished. Life is not a smooth ride; you will not achieve everything on your first try, no matter how hard you work on it. The point is if it is something worth doing, then you will just need to try again.
So, will I try the certification exam again? I am planning on it. I will try to keep up the strength I have built up from swimming 500M ~ 700M every night in the past 10 days by swimming 3 days a week, then enter again when my time is shorten.
Though, just a caution side note. Even when you are putting in your best effort, always remember your priority. I missed the mornings of the two full day training on Saturday and Sunday to accompany you to your gymnastics competition. One of the girls who swam slower than me passed because she had not absence during the whole training. Perhaps I could have passed too had I not taken those two mornings off. However, in the grand scheme of things, I still believe being there for you during your competition is a worthwhile trade off. After all, it was Anakin’s first competition. And, Aaron, mommy is glad to be there for your emotional support when you messed up the front flip on the vault and took away your chance of being awarded. Even though you tried to hide it, mommy knows that you are disappointed, as disappointed as I am tonight. So, remember, while you may have your eyes focused on your goals, make sure your loved ones are always a priority at all times!!
So, that’s the story of the day, my babies. I’m hopping into bed with you two now~~