Friday, August 2, 2019

Just Add Water

Laaaa-di-da, I've been spending my mornings poolside. A slight breeze ripples the water, the sun urges me to just layyyyy back and clooooose my eyes. True, it's only half an hour, but pool time is like beach time -- slower, divorced from life*-- a respite, however long. Also true, the air is filled with squealing, shouting. Some wailing, or, at the very least, performative hitched breathing. But the wailing is not yours, it does not belong to you: breathe in, let it float away, as it will. From a distance, one can murmur, "Ahh poor thing, he's having a *hard* morning" and nestle against the vinyl lounge chair. I'm happy to say my preschooler's also enjoying her swim lessons. She bobs up, proudly floating with her foam barbells and gives me a cartoony thumbs up. She is convinced she can already swim now ("I'M A GREAT SWIMMER!) -- she *can't* -- which is a handy reminder for continued vigilance around the water.

The weather has been beautiful this week, though often a touch chilly in the mornings, which has helped with transitioning her from the pool and back into the car (damn transitions, so tricky). A young "tadpoles" class has coincided with our daughter's individual lessons, so I get to watch the parents dipping their mostly happy toddlers up-and-down up-and-down into the very shallow section, with much clapping and wide eyed encouragement. A little curlyheaded girl -- the same size, but probably two years younger -- than my daughter is intent on running away in an endearing-if-you're-not-involved fashion; the grandmother in pursuit says, "You want an extra one? You can have her for the day, no charge!" We laugh and she scoops her up in a dripping, giggling,wrestling bundle.

A few minutes later, as my daughter drags her towel slowly along the wet ground, and I trip over my feet, trying to herd her toward the locker rooms, I hear the same woman noting to her older charge: "No, I do NOT need to be yelled at again~~" I make some kind of sympathetic noise with raised eyebrows, because, I, as well, do NOT need to be yelled at again. And the shorter set do not seem hampered by us explaining this. And yet, we must start somewhere. We try not to return the yelling. We round the corner into the pre-timed showers. A different woman lathers and says grimly: "If you yell at me one more time, I'm not taking you to the library." The wet girls look indifferent, or bemused. They will most certainly yell again. The showers are short, the day is long. And for the mothers, it will most likely be longer without the library trip, but it's hard to balance it all. These interactions were oddly comforting. It is a loud time. It is a Summer of Yelling.  

Several minutes later, in a move one only expects in a sitcom, the first woman pulls next to me on the road and rolls her window down.  With the windows down, one hears a loop of hoarse endurance bellowing. The older brother, who has been chill through everything, stares straight ahead. Bright and cheery: "Offer still stands!" Oh, how I like her.

"She was at the pool," my daughter informs me. 

"Sure, just lob her through the windows!" We laugh and roll up our windows, my daughter wrinkles her brow, and off we drive.  

*especially if you dropped your phone in the car, in your mad dash over

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