It was the last week of the summer. Our last hurrah before the start of school. It called for an adventure.
I saw them running into the water as I was still taking off my second shoe…
“Oh boy… Here it comes…” I sighed.
Sure enough, the lifeguard with the megaphone was waiting for them.
“All children under the age of 8 must remain in reach of an adult at allllllll times.” The muffled voice said super loudly…
Everyone swimming in the pool turned to look at the irresponsible parent needing reminding of the super obvious rule. Didn’t I read the 5000 signs on my way into this place?
The poor lifeguard was shaking her head; probably in frustration over the number of times she gets paid to yell this monotonous phrase from her vantage point at the top of the waterslide.
“Well, this is going to be easy,” I said as I looked at my four boys in front of me, ages 9, 7, 5, and 3…
“You can be free,” I said to my 9 year old who was floating nearby; he was grinning pretty proudly that he had just squeaked through the cracks.
He was good to go; as for the rest of the three boys… one was heading towards the deep end, one towards the kiddie slide, and the other was still lightly hollering with trepidation, “Moooooom, hold both my hands!!!” as he floated with a tube around his mid-section and bright orange water-wings around both arms.
“Ok, let’s do this…” I said. That’s my ever present pep talk when beginning all things ridiculous.
A little bit of chaos ensued, including a lot of reminders of, “We have to swim together!! Stop trying to leave the herd!!!”
There were plenty of chattering teeth while waiting in breezy waterslide lineups, and there was a continuous demonstration of the, ‘Catch the brother at the bottom of the slide who can’t touch before he plummets into the water, while hoisting the inner tube brother out of the water back to the slide lineup, all while keeping the youngest heavily inflated brother from floating away’ trick.
“I need a snack.” said the brother who always needs a snack, even if he’s just eaten two lunches and 6 snacks, he’ll still ‘need a snack.’ And since we’re still in the phase of ‘the littlest brother kind of calls the shots because he’s the hardest to please and the LOUDEST about it,” we called a mandatory group snack break.
What followed next will be forever remembered as ‘that time I brought 2 towels for 5 people and didn’t account for the ocean breeze.’ But guess what, we rented some more, thank heavens you can practically buy anything nowadays, am I right? And finally there we sat against the fence of the pool with the sandy beach behind us and the beautiful pool in front of us, eating our cinnamon and lemon blueberry scones while wrapped in warm towels.
We were dry, we were fed, and we were mostly warm again.
“Want to take the scenic route home?” I asked them. The group consensus was yes.
So around the lagoon we went. As we walked it sort of turned into a bit of a treasure hunt. First there were ducks, herons landing and taking off, two turtles sunning themselves on a rock, and a mysterious lady who ran past us while yelling that she ‘smelled the presence of raccoons…’
I watched one boy try to swing from a weeping willow branch like Tarzan.
I watched the same boy suffer the consequences of a broken weeping willow branch and we laughed as he crashed back to the earth, but cheered him on in his pursuit of adventure.
Home again. Clothes were changed, laundry was started, normal home life post adventure resumed. And then a little face ran up to me and simply said, “Mom. That was fun. Thanks for taking us.”
Thanks for taking us.
That’s the only phrase I need to hear to make me pack up my bag and lace up my shoes for the next family adventure.
There’s a meme flying around the internet about homeschoolers that says, “Our school is so prestigious you have to be born into it…” It’s pretty accurate. That’s how you get in on these crazy class parties with not enough towels and a ‘swim awkwardly close together inside a ginormous pool’ theme.
These guys are super lucky to have made the class list and I tell them that every single day. But, l am realizing more and more that I’m one of the super lucky ones too, since their being born in the first place made me the teacher at this super prestigious school… and although some days are wild, there’s no place I’d rather be.