I don't think she’s been swimming for about sixty years. “It’s not swimming,” I told her, “it's hydrotherapy.”
Which was completely true.
Mum was highly amused by the whole business.
Every time I raised it she’d tell me the same thing.
“You're quite mad … but I’m not averse to the idea.”
She was definitely up for it.
The first problem was finding a swimsuit. After flicking through racks of high-cut racing models I stumbled upon a maternity version. Soft and comfy with ruching and roominess in all the right places. Black with polka dots and a halter neck. Perfect.
Last Saturday Mum tried it on. She checked out her reflection and was pleasantly surprised. “Shall we go then?” I asked.
Mum declined. “I think that’s enough excitement for one day. How about some afternoon tea?”
This Saturday, we got into things straight away. Swimsuit on, clothes on top. We went directly to the pool. Holding firmly to my arm, Mum waded down the ramp.
The water was warm and bath-like. Our fellow bathers were friendly. They were also few and far between. But as soon as she was in, Mum became anxious.
She was worried about the depth of the water. Worried about her head going under, about about losing her glasses.
So we explored the shallows, held onto the rails and kept our feet on the bottom of the pool. As long as Mum was vertical and stable she was fine. As her confidence grew I held her up as we aqua-strolled, bobbing up and down from one side of the pool to the other.
There was plenty to look at. An eye-poppingly pregnant woman striding into the water. A large man being lifted out of his wheelchair by a mechanical hoist and gently deposited on the ramp. And in the end we stayed almost an hour.
Dried and dressed, we made our way through throngs of small children to the cafe where we had a splendid afternoon tea.
“I’m glad I went,” said Mum. “Actually, I feel marvellous.” I was curious.
“In what way?” I asked.
“Wellbeing,” said Mum. “Even my feet feel happy. Happy in my shoes.”