Water Therapy – Womb to Tub to Pool to Lake to Ocean

Me playing at Lake Michigan

I’m sitting in a huge jacuzzi with my little tiny brother, David (6’2″) and my mom, Sally, at her retirement community in Arizona. The heat and weightlessness feel amazing on my shoulder and arm 6 weeks after rotator cuff surgery. We started in the heated pool where David worked my stiff and sore shoulder and arm and then we moved to the jacuzzi to relax.

I flew in from Colorado to spend some time with my Mom who just finished chemo and radiation after two surgeries for cancer. Perfect timing since I’m on medical leave. We can be gimpy together. She lost her hair but it is growing back beautifully. David and I think she looks regal. She laughs and won’t let me post a picture.

David flew in from New York to hang out with the girls and to do mom’s taxes, so for the first time in ages, we all got to spend some time in the water together, something we have all loved since the womb…

My parents both loved to swim so it was important to them to teach my three brothers and me a LOVE and RESPECT of water. They chose to expose us to all kinds of water so I have very fond childhood memories of playing in bathtubs, pools, sprinklers, rain, rivers, lakes, the ocean and snow (yes, snow is water too).

My parents bought a house in Chesterton, Indiana when I was a baby and put a doughboy pool in our backyard and I learned to paddle around and jump from the side into my dad’s arms as a toddler.

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Our first Doughboy Pool

I remember the drive with family through miles of huge trees to Indiana Dunes State Park on Lake Michigan, a favorite vacation spot for family and friends. The vast sand dunes and the power of this huge body of water was frightening, but I was in awe and my parents taught me to love and respect this incredible creation.

When I was five, my parents, older brother and I moved from the woods of Chesterton to the desert of Tucson, Arizona. My parents were tired of shoveling snow and the icy commute to work each day and needed a change. I hated the desert with its glaring sun, deadly heat, barren landscape and cactus (saguaros are NOT trees although the Harris Hawk would beg to differ).

So, in went another doughboy pool. Soon two
little brothers joined the family and the six of us took trips to water holes in Sabino Canyon and camping trips to Canyon Lake and Lake Powell to swim, hike, fish, boat and tube. I always loved the feel of sand and mud between my toes and there was nothing more heavenly than jumping from a hot boat into the cool lake water.

Amite River, Baton Rouge, LA

When my brother and I were in junior high, we spent two summers with my grandparents back in Valparaiso, Indiana and they got us a pass to Lakewood where we would spend days with cousins and friends swimming and doing flips off of a high dive floating out in the middle of the lake. We also got to take a four day canoe trip, my first experience with leeches, nasty creatures. We went back to Lake Michigan and had fun painting each other with the blue “clay” along the beach  (by product from steel mill waste along the lake which has now been cleaned up). We would lay in the sun and let the clay dry and crack and then wash it off with another swim in the lake.

After high school I spent a few years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It felt like another country with is swamps, humidity, huge flowers and bugs. I went with some friends to the Amite River. We climbed up a huge tree that had a branch hanging out over the river creating a natural high dive and jumped in over and over again. This was a different kind of water, muddy due to high levels of rain creating runoff and since elevation is often below sea level, the water never makes it to the ocean. I don’t know that I would have dared to swim in the Amite River if I would have realized an alligator was watching us from down river.

Next was college near Santa Cruz, California. Again, another whole world. I had been to the Southern Pacific Coast as a child on trips to Disneyland but the Northern California Coast is very different. Yes, we could swim at the beaches off of the Boardwalk, but the water tended to be chilly unless you were into surfing in a bodysuit.

Swimming in one of Mexico's underground rivers
Mexican underground river

After Mark and I were married, we had two children of our own and introduced them to pools, lakes and oceans but one of our most wonderful adventures was a trip to Riviera Maya Mexico where the kids learned to snorkle and even got to experience a scuba diving lesson. We went in May after spring break but before the summer rush so we had the place to ourselves. We swam in gorgeous pools, snorkeled in the resort’s private bay, took a scuba lessons and swam in underground caves.

Now we are empty nesters and our bodies aren’t quite what they used to be. Instead of high dives and underground caves, I have been enjoying pool therapy which worked wonders in the recovery of rotator cuff surgery. Hot tubs are nice too, and showers. And snow is pretty to look at. I think I’d like to take another vacation to the ocean, maybe the Florida Keys. Any suggestions?


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3 thoughts on “Water Therapy – Womb to Tub to Pool to Lake to Ocean

  1. Brooke,
    I never learned to swim very well, although I have been in several bodies of water around the world. Pacific(California and Guam), Atlantic(Florida, S Carolina, Virginia and New Jersey), Gulf of Mexico (Florida and Texas), South China Sea, Mediterranean Sea (Turkey). I have a great love of the water and enjoy boating and swimming. Swimming is such a great exercise for us senior adults to keep in shape without having to go to the gym. The Pacific around Guam has the deapest blue water, no mud or Alligators.

  2. Hello Brooke, I loved this post where you openly show your love for water. I grew uplease going every summer in the beautiful coast of Albania along Adriatic and Ionian seas. As a material of fact I go every year with my wife and two sons. If you have not tried the waters of these two seas you should. Keep exploring. Regards, Tim (KuSo)

    • Hi Tim.
      Thank you for the suggestion. I would love to go to both of these seas. I have yet to make it across the Atlantic coast but it’s on my bucket list. I’d love to hear more about your travels…

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