I am figuring that over the 12 weeks of summer, I will take my children to the pool at least 24 times.
During that time, I would estimate that my time spent in the water will be approximately a 50:50 ratio to time spent sitting by the side in a lounge chair. I am starting to plan my time in the lounge chair with great anticipation.
I have seen the other moms sitting there year after year, and I have wondered how they got there. And how they were able to sit there so peacefully.
Now, I’m starting to understand.
This is the first summer that all three of my children, at the ages of 8, 6 and 4, have grown tall enough to keep their heads above water in the main section of the public swimming pool.
I carried them at the pool when they were babies. I sat with them in the zero depth area. I waited patiently while they attended swimming lessons. I cooked them meals and gave them glasses of milk to help them grow. And finally, they can swim safely while I lounge by the side of the pool.
Don’t worry. I still watch them. But I no longer have to stay within an arm’s length at all times.
I feel that I have earned my spot in the chair.
My husband on the other hand only gets to go to the pool with us about five times during the summer. It’s not his fault. He has a long commute, and the pool just isn’t as fun when the sun is setting.
But his ratio of time spent in the pool to time spent sitting by the side of the pool is about 100:0. As soon as he arrives, he pulls off his shirt and jumps into the middle of the splashing children.
The children descend upon him like he is a piece of watermelon in the middle of an ant colony. They hang on his back and his arms. They crawl all over him.
He tosses them in the air. They squeal. They ride his back as he dives under the water.
When I get in the pool, the children also react with glee. They smile. They laugh.
And they even cooperate when I initiate one of my super fun Mom pool activities.
“Who wants to practice their back float?!” I ask enthusiastically.
Or, “I have an idea! Let’s practice the ‘blast off’ that you learned in swimming class!”
Fortunately, they aren’t old enough yet to be completely annoyed or embarrassed by me. And they are happy I am wet. So, they play along.
I was thinking tonight as I watched my husband play with the children in the pool that I could step up my efforts to be more fun in the water.
But then I did the math. And I figured that over the course of the summer, I probably clock just as many minutes of time in the water playing with the kids. I just need to spread mine out. I don’t want to overdo it all in one pool trip. Nope. I need a little break to sit back in my lounge chair.
And besides, if I was more fun in the pool, it wouldn’t be fair to my husband. The kids wouldn’t be half as excited when he jumps in!