It was like the queen coming to tea, or somewhat more relevant to this generation, like New Direction visiting all girls school. There was cheering, wild waving and gap-toothed grins. Unbelievably, Mommy had entered the pool.
It was 90 degrees on July 4th, and we were pool squatting at a friend’s, meaning, they were on vacation and we were, uh, making sure the pool was okay. It was just us and their oasis of a yard.
My kids quickly jumped in and started thrashing around like just caught fish on the deck of boat, except in water. My husband also joined the party. In fact, he might have been the first fish in.
With the kids engaged and a parent on duty tossing them around the water, uh, supervising, I was free to read my book and relax. To the sounds of splashing and giddy laughter, I positioned myself on my friend’s comfy outdoor couch and opened my Kindle.
I was reading Me Before You. It was turning out to be the kind of book where in every spare moment, I hungrily and guilty sneak in a few finger page flips, like when I’m pretending to make lunches for the kids, or those brief minutes between giving the kids some water guns and someone crying. Now it seemed I had a good, relaxed hour of just me and my book, without feeling like an adulterer whose husband was about to walk in. Bliss.
I was about a page in when I heard my eight year-old yell, “Look at me!”
Even though he wasn’t speaking to me, I glanced over at the pool in time to see his skinny, white body clutch his knees and cannonball.
I returned to my book, but was again distracted by my 10 year-old shouting, “My turn!”
“Me too! I can too!” I heard my five year-old squeal.
I tried to ignore them, but I couldn’t concentrate. No one expected me to participate. They knew Mommy didn’t like water or swimming, since Mommy definitely shouldn’t have seen Jaws at 5 years-old, and possibly had drowned in a prior life. No one was bothering me at all. But I was bothered.
I placed my Kindle on the cushion. I was sitting in a pool of my own sweat anyway.
Slowly I made my way toward the pool and tentatively put a foot in the water.
My five year-old stopped mid jump, looking confused. “Mommy’s going in the pool?”
My two older boys, started cheering and chanting, “Mommy’s going in the pool!”
On doggie paddles and floats, they waded over to me. I was barely in, my anxiety rising with the water around me, deepening with each submerged step. I was in over my head, and I was only up to my knees.
They swarmed me, laughing, splashing, pulling me further in, jumping on me. They were circling sharks and I was fresh meat.
It was kind of a blissful torture. I was so happy to be in there with them, to take part in a family moment and memory. But if they’re expecting a repeat performance anytime soon, they shouldn’t hold their breath.