Motherly Love

daughterThe pool was empty at 5:00 PM.  I quickly took my favorite lane. Mother and her 3 year old Daughter joined me in the pool. Mother had red hair pulled into an elastic, fair, freckled skin, and an overbite. Daughter was more blonde than red, and as cute as Shirley Temple. They were wearing similar color suites, navy and aqua. Mother’s mouth remained twisted into an easy smile.

I looked up and noticed them in the shallow end. The young child was submerged with her head dipped back so that, on tip toes, she could just manage to breath. It’s hard to describe, but it appeared that they were practicing rescue. Each turn, over and over, Mother would inch out a bit further, leaving Daughter to make her way to the pool’s edge. The child worked to stretch her arms and fingers, seeking out the security of the edge. Before long, the young child sputtered as though she inhaled water. Mother’s smile widened. She was pleased. Daughter did not look fearful, more like she accepted it and did not fuss. Daughter had no happy smiles, those belonged to Mother. It seems they are quite practiced at their game.

By now, there were other parents with children in the pool. No one seemed concerned or to notice. I considered going over to the lifeguard’s desk.

“That Mother is nearly drowning her Daughter,” I thought about saying.

But afterall, the lifeguard was within sight of this pair! Right then, I decided.
must be crazy.

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Seaweed in a Lake!

“Seaweed is the common name for countless species of marine plants and algae that grow in the ocean as well as in rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.”

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/seaweed.html

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I recently spent a week at my lakeside camp in Vermont. I hadn’t been swimming there for a few years. And certainly not since I took up swimming laps at my local pool.

I was unpleasantly surprised by the amount of green things growing in the water. Is it called “seaweed” if it grows in a lake I wondered to myself. It grew so tall in patches that I could make out tiny tips just breaking the glassy water surface. My plan was to skirt the patches as best I could but it proved impossible. As the tentacles grabbed at my feet and legs, I hurried off in a different direction, in hopes of avoiding this more than unpleasant confrontation.

The second worry was the depth of the lake. One old-timer knowingly informed me that the lake is over 100 feet at its deepest, a glacier formed lake! I studied the lake’s depth map over the Internet and wondered if it is possible to swim across while avoiding crossing the most significant depths. I wasn’t confident in my map reading skills or my swimming ability without the security of knowing I can safely stop whenever needed.

At least in the depths, it would be very unlikely to experience the seaweed nipping at me! But while avoiding the depths, I would likely encounter the green stuff. I decided more than anything, I mostly needed someone to accompany me. No suitable companion was evident. Perhaps I’ll wait till next trip and bring a boogie board with a wrist strap to help build confidence in crossing the nearly one mile passage without totally panicking. There – I now have a challenge (or two) to look forward to!

My New Digs, My New Day

IMG_20170611_120507.jpg(“New” bag from Consigning Women – need a punch of pink for summer on Cape Cod!)

My pool venue ended on May 25th at the Bayside Resort – winter-season-only-don’t-you-know! It forced me into a pool finding frenzy and now I have it – the mostly perfect location for my 60-plus minute daily swims. With the new venue, this is what I now enjoy: an oversized indoor pool; generous hours including weekends; available year round; no black out times; life guard always on duty; towels provided both poolside and in the shower area; spa quality showers including spa products for member use; reasonable rate; and last but not least — the kids are scarce and DO stay out of the two, dedicated, ADULT ONLY swimming lanes!!! (fanfare playing softly)

Last Swim

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My hotel pool is closing to local swimmers now that summer is on its way. On my second to last trip to the pool, a healthy, ten-year old girl kept cannon balling behind me as I attempted to do laps. The fall out was extreme and the waves prevented me from swimming for a full three minutes. I also found it highly startling. She would then swim perpendicular to my pool length laps.  Her mother was close by and never said a word. I looked at the mother and informed her of my PTSD. “Oh is she bothering you?” she asked demurely…

I know when my number is up.  I decided that although I never miss a swim, perhaps it would not serve me well to go to the pool on the next and very last day of the season. That is what I decided when my swimming friend called and asked if I ‘d like to join her at the pool for the last time. Well, safety in numbers I thought and I agreed. I was happy to have this cheerful last swim. I arrived and my friend was already in the water and no children in sight. Sigh of relief.

Over the season, I developed several defensive maneuvers to keep obnoxious children and their parents at bay, such as: positioning myself as near to the parents as possible so that they get splashed too; using my technique of treading water in place of lap swimming to stay out of the line of fire; praying out loud; looking a child in the eye while pointing out that I am old enough to be their grandmother; blocking out noise by humming or chanting loudly; swimming in a very slapping, splashing manner (just like kids do); fake coughing like I am sick and might vomit; take a stance as though I might be peeing; not bothering to wear my modesty cover-up in case someone might be offended; taking a slow time in the single use bathroom in case a screaming child might have to use the toilet urgently (this one is totally ineffective because most children pee in the pool).

For next year, I think I’ll sharpen my cannon ball skills.  That and a good Hail Mary may just save me.

Swimmer’s Itch

IMG_20170406_185207I recently bought a membership to a local hotel pool. I typically swim five days each week. I have an ongoing idea that I will speak of my troubles to a stranger at the pool. Will it be the front desk clerk? A fellow swimmer? Perhaps even the owner? Many people tell their stories to a stranger. Why not me? I can’t shake the notion that someone will have the answers I seek. Someone will have just the right words to reassure me about my son enlisting in the Marines.

I joined the pool soon after he signed the contract. I am not an especially energetic person by nature. I suddenly felt kinetic. Live-wired. Unable to unwind or dissipate. I simply had to find mindless activities to take me out of my head. I chose knitting and swimming. In the early days of swimming, I would simply count endlessly and silently to push any panic thoughts out of mind. I started with 90 minutes of activity in the pool. At times, it boarded on frantic. After working all day, then swimming like that, I can usually fall asleep at night. During the moments in a day that typically offer “down time”  I decide to use knitting to fill the void and deflect any remaining stray thoughts.

As I finish my swim this evening, I notice the water looks slightly milky. Probably from the salts shed by the many bodies. Or it may be a pool of tears. I have certainly shed many into the deep waters here. I also notice oil droplets floating on the surface as I make ripples with each stroke. The pool’s aqua blue color adds a special touch to the overall effect. Nothing will dissuade me from this moving meditation. At the same time, I think of the six adult bodies currently sharing a bath in the place they call “the spa.” I have the pool to myself and feel grateful.

Just as I exit the water and head for the shower, a woman steps in before me. It is a single use room. I grab my bag and head for the men’s room. After all, the outside door locks and there are no men present. I shower quickly, exit the men’s room and no one seems to care.