When you think of summer and children your mind automatically drifts to the beach. But if you live in a landlocked town like us, your next logical thought is of swimming pools.
I spent many wonderful summers during my childhood at our neighborhood pool which was just six houses down from where we lived. My seven-year-old sister and I (nine at the time) had to pass a swimming test so we could be at the pool by ourselves. We both did and that, along with being watched over by lifeguards, gave our parents the peace of mind that we could handle being at the pool for long stretches each day by ourselves. Of course this was during the 1980s when times were simpler (or seem so now, looking back).
Now that I’m a parent myself I CANNOT imagine leaving my kids at a pool alone. Heck, when I’m at the pool with them I’m almost constantly stressed out. Sure, I love watching them discover the fun of the water and how to blow bubbles. But they’re young and can’t swim yet. So I usually spend the time we’re at the pool on constant watch, trying to keep my 18-month old from slipping under the water and my four-year-old from doing the same or, at least, from splashing other kids in the face. I’m confining our swim play to the baby pool for now. Only an octopus could handle my two babes in a regular-sized, 5-ft deep swimming pool without the possibility of one of them drowning.
So, for now, my childhood memories of the fun and freedom I felt while swimming will have to sustain me for a few years. At least until my kids are old enough to swim and be safe in the water all on their own. I remind myself that one day, in the not-too-distant future, I’ll get to join the ranks of mommies reading books and relaxing by the side of the pool while their kids swim and play nearby. These days I’m really looking forward to that kind of small freedom.