I’m a terrible blogger. And I’m 100% sure it’s because of laziness. Well, I’ve made a pact with myself. I will post something NEW every Friday. After all, I should have a week’s worth of thoughts to choose from, right? We’ll see.
Today I am thinking about our neighborhood pool. More specifically, the check I have to write to our neighborhood association for our neighborhood pool. But, it got me thinking about my neighborhood pool growing up. Until I reached an age where my father insisted I get a summer job, my days were spent swimming with friends. And I mean, SWIMMING. Swimming so much my hair turned a permanent shade of green and I fell asleep every night in a chlorine induced coma.
Now that I’m the same age my Mom was when she used to take me and my brother to the pool everyday of our summer vacation, (insert scream here) it got me thinking about her life back then and my life now. Every morning, Mom would tell us to dress ourselves as she got our pool bag ready. She filled it with one sandwich for each of us, some chips, two squirt guns, four quarters and one bottle of dark tanning oil (and the bag was seriously no bigger than a small purse). She would then throw us each a towel – we were allowed one towel only that we had to carry, and we’d walk up to the pool. 5 minutes later, we were there!
Now, this is what I do when I take Henry to the pool. I tell him to get his bathing suit on, while I begin to pack two totes and a cooler. I stuff one bag with at least three bottles of suntan lotion, all the pool toys, water wings, a hat for Henry, a hat for me, an extra outfit for Henry, an additional cover-up for me, two kinds of after-sun burn lotion, a comb and a book. I jam pack the second tote with towels – one for Henry when he gets out of the pool, one for him to sit on while he eats lunch, one for him to use just in case the first towel doesn’t dry fast enough, one for me to sit on and one for me to use just in case I decide to get in the water. Then, I start on the cooler, which gets four juice boxes, 2 cokes, 2 bottles of water, goldfish, strawberries, peanut butter crackers, yogurt, two granola bars, a bag of fruit snacks and something for me to eat. At this point, I yell for Henry to come get in the car- yes, the car – because even if I wanted to walk,I couldn’t. And let’s face it, I don’t want to walk. It is then that I notice Henry is not dressed. So, to save time, I put his bathing suit on for him. One hour later, we arrive at the pool.
When I arrived at the pool with my Mom, she would quickly join her friends and grab herself a chair. My brother and I were shooed away to go play (notice she did NOT put any suntan lotion on us). Most of the time, Page, Patsy, Susie, Eileen and Theresa were already there, basking in the sun’s glow, without hats or sunblock. Every now and then I would hear laughter coming from their corner. When it was time for lunch, Mom would sit us on the ground next to her chair, hand us our sandwich and chips, then give us each 50 cents for the vending machine for a drink. We would eat, wait the requisite 15 minutes for our food to settle and then hop back in the pool. Hours later, my Mom would tell us it was time to go. We’d get out of the pool, wrap ourselves in our one towel, say goodbye to our friends and walk home.
This is how Henry and I spend the day at the pool. We finally find a parking spot and after searching, sometimes without any luck, for a table with an umbrella or an area with an immense amount of shade, we put our stuff down. Well, I put our stuff down as Henry has carried nothing except his pink blow-up ring. Yes, pink.
Once we find a spot, I take off his shirt and douse him with copious amounts of sunscreen, throw his toys into the kiddie pool and unload my laundry basket of towels. As Henry goes off to the pool, I wipe the sweat off me that’s trickling down my face and arms, cover myself with copious amounts of sunscreen, make sure my towels are strategically placed so no one steals one of the four chairs I’ve called my own and dig around in my tote for my book. When lunch rolls around, I make sure Henry is sitting appropriately in his chair and offer him a buffet of snacks. As soon as he’s finished, he jumps back in the pool, because you know that 15 minute rule is a myth, right?
Hours later, I tell Henry it’s time to go. After physically removing him from the pool, dressing him in brand new clothes, apologizing to the teenagers sitting next to me for the whiny kid making a spectacle of himself, packing up my bags, and giving Henry his pink ring, we trudge to the car.
I’m not really sure when my 4 year old became the center of the universe. But, I think I’ll take a page from my Mom’s book this summer and pack only one bag for the pool, give Henry one towel, and make him buy his juice box out of a vending machine.
OK, I can hear your laughter from here.