Pool practice

This morning we rallied for an early family outing to a local indoor pool. We wanted to beat the late morning crowd. Jerry, as usual, was itching to get to his yard work projects, but he’s learned how important it is to make play time more of a priority.

We had a ball playing tag games in the water together. At one point I said, “Charlotte, you used to hate splashing, but now you can handle it.” “Yeah!” she said as she rubbed the water from her eyes. Later she wanted to try her new goggles and Fenner came right over to help. I said, “Fenner has more experience with goggles than I do,” and I left them to figure it out together. Little by little…

Afterwards we were all in the locker room getting dressed to go. Charlotte stood there in her wet bathing suit. “Mom, what do I do now? … Will you help me?” “Charlotte, I’m busy getting myself dressed.” “Where do I put my wet suit?” “Well, Ellen showed me her technique of wrapping her suit up in her towel.” I continued getting dressed and glanced over at Charlotte as she took off her suit and left it in a ball on one of the benches. When I was finished getting ready, she was still naked and kind of wandering around the locker room. I said, “Charlotte, I’m going out to find Daddy. I think he’s waiting out there for us.” “Ok!” she said. I left her there in the locker room, naked and aimless. She can do this, I said to myself. It’s just drying off and getting dressed. She can handle that. There’s no reason for me to direct her or stand there and watch. Yes, that’s a brand new bathing suit and she might leave it there in a ball, but then again, she might not …

I went out and found Jerry in the lobby. We sat at a table to wait for the girls. I said to him, “Ok, everyone has their new bathing suits today and I’m going to trust that nobody will forget and leave their suit here.” “You’re not going to ask if they have them?” “I’m not going to ask if they have them,” I declared to both him and myself.

Ellen came out first, and then Fenner. We sat and talked and waited … and waited… Then one of the other mothers I’d made small talk with in the locker room came out. Our eyes met briefly and for a second I was afraid she might look at me and say, “Do you know you left your 6-year-old in the locker room to fend for herself?!” But, phew, she didn’t.

Then Fenner said, “I want to go. I feel like going to see what Charlotte’s doing.” “You’re welcome to do that,” I said casually, secretly hoping that she would. She did and came back a few minutes later. “She was going back to the pool to get her goggles and someone shut the door on her toe.” “Was she crying?” asked Jerry. “No, she was just looking at her toe and I said, ‘C’mon! I want to go now!’”

We waited a little longer and finally Charlotte emerged. She was dressed and she had her mesh bag. I could see in the bag was 2 pairs of goggles and nothing else. No suit. No towel. I mumbled to Jerry, “Oh, she doesn’t have her suit,” but he didn’t hear me. I watched her walk toward the door with Jerry and tried to decide what to do.

Just as I was about to say something, she looked in her bag and said, “Errrrrrrrr! I forgot my suit!” She hung her head and stomped back to the locker room, and I breathed another sigh of relief.

Jerry went with Ellen and Fenner to get the car and I waited for Charlotte to come back out. When she came I said, “Charlotte, I had so much fun swimming with you. I wouldn’t do things like this if it weren’t for you.” “So you’re glad you decided to have another kid?” she asked. “Yes … yes I am.” And we walked to the car together.

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 7: The Art of Encouragement

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