“You have one task”, boomed my wife as we boarded the plane to Lanzarote.
I was only half paying attention at the time as I was still recovering from the mammoth task of lugging enough luggage to comfortably cover a family emigration. We were going for a mere ten days but my wife had packed for every eventuality. Including, it would seem, the option that we might never return.
I’m surprised the woman at check-in didn’t wave us off with an “All the best in your new life…”
Bags checked in, security checks done, breakfast eaten, toilet stops sorted and the walk to the plane was upon us…
“What task is that, dear?”
“Please make sure Daisy can swim by the time we come home. All of our friends’ dads have managed to do that. I don’t want her to be the only one coming back with armbands after a holiday abroad”.
No pressure then.
It would seem that this holiday would decide if Daisy was ever going to make the GB Olympics team AND – more worryingly – my standing amongst our social group as a competent outdoors-type dad was now at stake.
I was tempted to point out that if this was my only task then she was very welcome to deal with the luggage carousel when we arrived, but thought better of it.
Isn’t time away with the family amazing? It’s the first time we’d done it as a four and both ourselves and the kids loved it.
And even though most days revolved around these sentences, in this order;
- If you don’t stop that then you’re not having an ice cream today.
- I’ve told you already, stop it, or you’re not having an ice cream later.
- How many times do I have to tell you to stop it or you won’t be having an ice cream later.
- That’s it. Don’t say you weren’t warned. There’s no ice cream for you later.
- What flavour ice cream do you want?
…the kids were great.
But four days in and I still hadn’t achieved my goal of teaching Daisy to swim. My wife pointed this out to me on day one. And day two. And day three!
Having been so reluctant to take her armbands off for the first few days, I managed to make her give it a go. I’d been such an idiot. I had failed to do what all the top swimming coaches in the world do when they are training a top-level elite athlete.
I promised her a new Barbie doll if she did it.
(I’m almost 100% certain this is the same tactic that was used to spur Rebecca Adlington to Olympic glory.)
Daisy took her armbands off, jumped into my arms and swam like she’s never swum before:
I was so proud. Everyone around the pool could see. I was (in my mind, at least) the main man.
The Don Corleone of the hotel swimming pool.
I lifted Daisy out of the pool and we strolled back towards the apartment, looking around for acknowledgements from the crowd. I felt like giving passers-by a high-five to mark my momentous poolside work. I’m pretty sure that they were all impressed by the magnificent aquatic feat that they had just witnessed.
BUT… then, it happened.
As we triumphantly strolled past the bottom end of the pool, I suddenly felt my foot wobble.
The wobble turned into a stumble.
The stumble turned into a slip.
The slip turned into skid.
The skid turned into fall.
Not a subtle fall either; a big, in-your-face, couldn’t-be-more-obvious, call-You’ve-Been-Framed-immediately kind of fall.
My achievements of just minutes earlier were wiped out as I hit the deck in slow motion, letting out a groan as I landed on my arse.
To make things worse, Daisy was in actual hysterics, pointing and laughing at the dad who’d just taught her how to swim.
Instead of leaving the pool as a hero, I left as ‘that cocky twat who fell over’.
Sink or swim? For me, the former.
But for Daisy, at least, the latter!
#lad2dadlesson You are the only person who actually cares about your kids’ achievements!