Vanessa Dueck: Swimming Lessons

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 (Vanessa Dueck)

Vanessa Dueck struggles to keep up with shifting notions of good parenting brought on by a shifting pandemic.

The other day, I was mask-free at my children's first swimming lesson since pre-pandemic days. I found myself hovering over my two daughters, unable to engage in the conversation I was allegedly having with a parent on the sidelines.  My instinct to coddle my young kids in their respective classes was strong. I have no training or authority when it comes to water sports, but had an overwhelming impulse to instruct the teachers on how my children learn best.

This form of anxiety and intense need to control my kids' environment is a product of the pandemic for me, and I find it leaking into all sorts of areas of my parenting these days, with little wonder why. They were inside the house with me, bonded intensely, away from... well, everyone, for so long. The unhealthy relationship we developed as a result of not being with other people much for the better part of the last two years has me feeling hyper aware of my newly acquired obsession with their wellbeing in new environments.

As I write this, I am sitting away from my third and oldest child while he has his swimming lesson. There is a glass wall between us. I need this, we need this, so that he can grow into his own person, away from me. I know he can handle scenarios like swimming lessons away from me in the real world - a real world that I had dreamed would come back, and now that I'm back in it, I need to figure out where on Earth I fit.

With a Perspective, I’m Vanessa Dueck.

 Vanessa Dueck is a writer and aspiring elite runner in the South Bay.