The kid and I went to the public swimming pool late this afternoon. After an overcast, unseasonably cool August day, the sun had come and things had warmed up to a balmy 68 degrees (or thereabouts). We were in the car, driving down the street to do some errands, when the warmth of the sun got to me.
“Wanna go to the pool instead?”
She thought as we drove by three houses.
I made a U-turn, we went home, quickly changed and grabbed towels, and headed for the pool. Our town has two pools–a big one and a little one. We much prefer the little one. It just has a friendlier, more laid-back vibe. We know all the lifeguards and they know my kid. Every day at 3:00, when the lifeguards take a 15-minute break and everyone has to clear the pool, the ice cream truck pulls into the parking lot and rakes in the cash. The small pool never draws the crowds that the bigger one does, and every year, the city threatens to close it, but it keeps plugging away. I guess because of people like us.
It was cool today. Scratch that. It was cold. When we arrived at the pool, we were the only ones there except for a bunch of bored lifeguards. The female guards had resorted to doing each others hair while the guy guards hung out and talked and bounced a basketball around. Once we showed up, they sprang into action. One of the guards was up on the chair, the mushroom sprinkler was on, and the water slide flowing before I even had my sandals off.
The water was cold. Bracing. And we loved it. I swam a few laps and felt my body fighting against the cold, felt myself warming up in spite of it. But when I saw the kid was shivering, it was time to go.
We went home the long way, via the frozen custard stand and a quick trip to the grocery store. Hours later, I realized the kid was still wearing her bathing suit under her clothes. As she changed, we had The Most Rewarding Conversation I’ve Ever Had with a Child.
Me: I’m glad we went swimming today.
Child: Me too. (Who doesn’t love an agreeable kid?)
Me: Even though it was cold.
Child: It was like a hot tub only the opposite. And I don’t have any body fat to keep warm. (Indication that she actually occasionally listens and retains information from Mommy.)
Me: Not like Mommy. (Said as I picked her up and started doing bicep curls with her. She is small enough that you can do that.)
Child: Yep, you’re fatter than I am. (She is bravely honest.)
Child: You’re not fat. You look just like a teenager, only not as dumb. (There are no words. Only gratitude.)