We’ve belonged to our town pool for about 10 years. We got a membership when Matthew was a toddler, and have renewed it every year, sometimes just because if you let your membership lapse, you’re required to get into a line at some ungodly hour of the morning on a day in April, without any guarantee that there will even be space available.
And after all these years, I realized today, that it took THIS long for the pool membership to pay off in terms of having any relaxation benefits for me. With my kids at 8 and 12, they now have both the maturity and swim skills that I can turn my head and have a conversation for a few minutes without fearing that they will drown, or being distracted by “Mommy? Look at this! Mommy?! I have to go to the bathroom! I’m hungry! I’m cold!” Now they can take themselves to the bathroom, let me know when their lips start turning blue, and saying no to the snack bar no longer puts me on the business end of an embarrassing tantrum.
I put in a lot of years in the pool’s kiddie section (or what we all now call the pee-pee pool), praying that my kid would never be the one who shut it down by taking a dump in a foot of overchlorinated water. I’ve scooped other people’s kids out of the water, pulled floating Hello Kitty bandaids out of my kids’ plastic buckets, and spent hours worrying that my kids would come down with some vile disease by swallowing pool water.
I now have two kids who can swim. Lots of their friends belong to the pool, so if they haven’t brought a friend with them, there’s a good chance they’re going to find someone to hang out with.
Now if only there was someone to bring me a nice cocktail.