Sunday, November 29, 2009
One of the dangers of having kids who swim on swim team is that they become bored with playing in the pool. Never do I hear the words, "Let's go swimming." Swimming is their job, literally for Grace and Spencer who are trained as lifeguards.
I remember as a kid, and as a teenager, that I spent my life at the pool. Splashing into the blue water and sitting on the bottom playing tea party. I would hold my breath for as long as I could, swimming from one side to the other without coming up for air. Then when I climbed out of the pool, I'd lie down on the hot cement and feel the water sizzle, the heat drawing the pool water from my ears and baking my skin. We'd go to the concession stand for frozen Zero bars and grumble about adult swim until it was time to jump in again.
When we went on vacation, driving for hours across the Blue Ridge Mountains or to Florida, all we hoped for was a hotel with a pool when we stopped. My brothers, sister and I would barely take the time to throw our bags in the room before we were changing into swimsuits and running out to the pool. In the pool, we could forget our petty disagreements, things that still linger in our relationships today as grown ups, and we could play. We'd dive for pennies or have splash contests. We'd ride on Dad's back or hang onto Mom's legs as she dipped them in the side of the pool, never really comfortable swimming.
Today, though, the weekend after Thanksgiving, I am in a hotel in Toledo biding my time between the Saturday afternoon swim meet and the Sunday afternoon swim meet. I went to the workout room, a mishmash of disabled treadmills and bicycles and I stopped to glance in at the pool. It didn't have a waterfall, like this picture from Carefreepools.com, but it had a wall of windows letting in the morning light and it was surrounded by palm trees and lounge chairs. The water was a sparkling blue, and I thought, I bet the kids would love this.
Tucker said, "I didn't bring a swimsuit." And since he's spending the weekend swimming at a swim meet, what he means is, he didn't bring board shorts, a "regular" swim suits. Instead, he has Speedo jammers that fit tight to his knees and help him shed time in his races.
Grace, who woke with coughing fits in the night, still sleeps. I can imagine the roll of her eyes if I suggest she gather her friends and go swimming.
In my mind, though, I picture myself in the lounge chair with the book I'm reading and the teenagers fill the pool. There are the rowdy boys, Ty and Gus and Jack and Tucker, throwing balls and diving for them, splashing the girls who are diving like mermaids, even as teenagers. The pool staff may look worried about the mayhem, and I'll reassure them that most of the kids in the pool are lifeguards themselves.
And I'll raise my eyes to the winter sunshine pouring through those big glass windows and be thankful for the fun that a swimming pool still provides, even to kids who spend up to 20 hours a week in the water.
My fantasy of fun in the pool is probably not going to happen this morning. Maybe someday, when they've swum through their high school and college days, maybe they'll remember what fun it is to play in the pool again.
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