I know this isn’t something everyone can do. I’m lucky to have such easy access to a pool.

When I moved in with my dad I felt like I stopped having any privacy or alone time. Yes, I have my own room at his house, but it still feels very much like I’m staying in the guest room. But I’m not here for a few weeks while he recovers, I’m here indefinitely.

That’s how things feel right now: indefinite.

My job has agreed to let me work remotely, for now. Hopefully they’ll continue to be as flexible as they have been. I work harder than ever, because if I lost this job I don’t know what I would do. How would I find another job when I don’t know how long I’ll be here? When I can probably go into an office most of the time, but that’s subject to when my dad needs me. Which is often and is rarely scheduled. Or, if it is scheduled, he may or may not tell me in advance.

Swimming has become my refuge. I swam in high school and still hit the pool semi-regularly in college. But as soon as I graduated it fell off my priorities. Here at my dad’s retirement community there’s a pool right here and hardly anyone else uses it. It’s my favorite thing here and the thing that keeps me from losing my mind.

If I leave the grounds my dad inevitably has some sort of urgent thing he needs my help for. I can’t finish grocery shopping or even think about meeting a friend without a phone call demanding I come back immediately. But as long as I’m on the grounds, dad still feels safe. He knows I’m only a few minutes away, so he’ll let me swim in peace.

The one time he started to insist he doesn’t like being left alone while I swim, I suggested he come with me and enjoy the activities at the club house, where the pool is located, while I get my exercise in. That shut him up. I didn’t really say it to shut him up, though. It’d be good for him to take advantage of the things his HOA fees are paying for, pick up some hobbies, and meet his neighbors. Being social is good. I already know twice as many people here as he does, perhaps because I’m a novelty for being so much younger.

Something about the way sound changes under the water is oddly soothing to me. It feels like I’ve entered another dimension. I can stop worrying about everything — my dad, work, my life being on hold — and just be in my body. All I need to do is move forward, do one more lap, go a little faster. It’s something just for me, where I’m totally in the moment.

I wouldn’t say it’s the best part of my day. I love my dad and we have a good time together most days. Most of the things he does to drive me batty are just because we’re too similar. Neither of us are comfortable with him being sick and needing my help. But days that I make time to swim are always better days.

Written by Guest Author
The Caregiver Space accepts contributions from experts for The Caregiver's Toolbox and provides a platform for all caregivers in Caregiver Stories. Please read our author guidelines for more information and use our contact form to submit guest articles.

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