A lot of the time, as a writer, my job is to tell stories. But sometimes, in ways that are forever surprising me, I realize that my stories are kind of telling me. So here’s a story that I started telling over a year ago, when two assignments inspired me to learn to swim. Yes, at age 32, yes, while seven months pregnant.
And today, I’m sharing a new story, which I wrote for this month’s issue of Prevention, about how swimming has sort of saved my life. The article is part of a wonderful package on “extreme healing.” There are pieces on how to turn your home into a healing oasis, the best healing destinations in the world, and fancy healing spas. Then there are two essays that weave together the science of healing with personal narratives. One is by the utterly fabulous Judith Newman, about the road trip nobody wanted to go on.
And the other one is by me. My story is about the healing power of water, and how the swimming pool at my local gym has kept me sane during the past 10 months, while my daughter Violet has undergone seven surgeries and spent a total of 80 days in the hospital. She was born with complex congenital heart disease and it’s a long road, some of which I will be writing about more, and some of which I probably never will. But this article isn’t about CCHD or even really about Violet, though it is, of course, a piece of her story. It is about swimming and healing and figuring out how to be a mother when the water is almost over your head.
You can pick it up in the June issue of Prevention or read it here.
(And it’s all true — you can tell by how exhausted I look in the photos, which we shot while I was in the middle of a 33-day PICU stint with Violet. Lesson learned: There is not enough waterproof concealer in the world for that!)
PS. It probably goes without saying, but this piece should also explain why this blog has been on hiatus for most of 2014. Violet is doing well right now, and I’m back to work full-time, but I can’t promise that posting frequency will pick back up anytime soon; somebody has to invent a 35-hour day first! But I will continue to use this space to share published work, and, as often as I can, thoughts about my work and the business of writing.