Keeping it safe in summer


My first summer job was as a certified lifeguard at the public pool. That summer was much like this one, dampened by the all too frequent thunderstorms and deluges of rain. Even still, I spent many afternoons perched under an umbrella, twirling and tooting my whistle while I worked for that eight bucks an hour.

I recently had a conversation with a gal visiting from England. As we watched my children splash and play in a pool, she tried to explain England’s national educational curriculum which includes swimming.

According to the Swim England website, swimming and water safety has been a mandatory part of their physical education for primary school children since 1994. As an island nation, England recognized the importance of this skill for their young population.

I’m thankful my lifeguard days made me value safety and swimming skills, and my experience as an emergency department nurse only solidified the necessity of such. That’s why this summer’s mission was to get my boys comfortable in the water. A few tears (by everyone) and promises for Popsicles later, the Gaynor boys are happily paddling in pools and wrecking otherwise quiet afternoons with squeals of “cannonball!”

I used to be so relaxed, soaking in the sunshine and serenity of whatever body of water. As a lifeguard, I never actually had to save a life or go Baywatch on anybody—what a blessing—but just last week, I jumped in twice. Shoes and all. Oh, the joys (fears) of parenting and play dates! No worries, the little tot was all smiles.

I miss the days of youthful, carefree ignorance. They truly were bliss. But so are the days as Mom—loudly splashing and learning the value of this beautiful life together.

Wishing us all a sunny and safe summer!

Neena Gaynor is a Kentucky wife, mother, daughter and beekeeper who does life in Owensboro. She also writes on her blog at and can be reached via email at


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