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Two Short Hours at the Pool

Version 2I wasn’t excited when Daughter asked if I’d like to take her two oldest to the community swimming pool for a couple of hours. I remembered when my own children were about the age of these two Grands, and I treaded water the whole summer while they jumped off the diving board. I was water-logged, hot, and tired

  “Are they jumping off the diving board? The high dive?” I asked. Daughter read between my words and assured me that both Lou and David, ages 8 and 10 respectively, can jump from the low and high diving boards. I could sit on a lounge chair and relax. So I donned my cover-the-whole-body bathing suit, lathered my Grands and myself with sunscreen, and packed a bag. Water bottles. Granola bars. Towels. Sunscreen. A book. And off we went.

David said, “Gran, put your stuff on this picnic table. We’ll keep everything together.” My Grands helped me drag a metal and plastic lounge chair close to the table and before I’d even sat down, Lou was climbing the high dive ladder and David stood at the bottom. I wanted to shout, “Wait, I need to see you swim first!” I didn’t. They had jumped off this high dive three days earlier while their mother watched.

Lou looked at me as she stood on the very edge of the board, that seemed a mile above the water, and I plastered a smile on my face. She didn’t know I was thinking. “Are you sure you can to do that?” She waved and jumped. She surfaced before I had time to take a deep breath. My smile was genuine.

David walked to the end of the diving board, looked my way, threw a one-finger wave, and jumped. He too, quickly surfaced and I relaxed. Enough to step back three decades and notice that some things haven’t changed.

Two teenage lifeguards sat on tall wooden chairs. She twirled a red lanyard, attached to a silver whistle, around her hand. One direction, then the other. A rubber band encircled his open hand. He popped it with his fingers. Each occasionally shouted. “Walk! Don’t run!” “Move away from the ladder.” “No horseplay!” “Stay off the diving board until the other person jumps.”

A girl, about age 10, stood at the end of the high diving board. Then she turned toward the ladder. A woman, standing beside the pool under her, yelled, “You can’t come down the ladder. Jump! You can do it.” The girl’s curled fingers covered her lips. Her elbows tucked in her ribs. She turned, tiptoed to the end of the board, and shook her head. “I’m right here. You’ll come right back up,” the woman said.   The girl’s shoulders swayed. The woman called, “On three, go! Ready? One! Two! Three!” The children, waiting in the diving board line, screamed, “Three!” One step and she splashed into water. She raised her hand high when she surfaced and shouted, “I did it!” Everyone applauded.

A toddler ran toward the pool. His mother grabbed his arm and lifted him into her arms. Three young boys played chase in the water. “Look at me,” a young girl called just before she ducked her face in the water.

Under a huge maple tree, I soaked up the filtered sun’s rays. In the pool, I played ‘keep away’ and raced across the pool with my Grands. Never opened my book. And hated that two hours passed so quickly. I just needed another five minutes.