Posted by: emjb | July 22, 2006

Chlorine-scented nostalgia

I haven’t been swimming in years. Braving a bathing suit and finding somewhere to wear it was just too much work. But Matt has been taking Nathan swimming in our apartment complex pool in a little flotation doohicky he found, and the other day he finally persuaded me to hunt up my suit and come along.

I am SO out of shape. I can barely swim all the way around the pool without needing a break. But I had forgotton how cool and silky the pool feels on a hot day, how nice it is to exert yourself without sweating, or in my case, dealing with your trick knees. The smell of suntan lotion, the nice kind of fatigue you get after swimming. And now Nathan in his ring, kicking his legs and grinning when his hands splash in front of him. Looking concerned when his daddy goes underwater. Sitting on my lap on the pool steps and splashing his legs. So much fun. I can’t wait till he’s old enough to really swim on his own, and we can jump off diving boards and do underwater handstands.

I’m waiting for him now, suited up and ready to go, while he takes his afternoon nap. The pool schedule is unpredictable and I don’t know if it’ll be crowded on a Saturday, but I can’t wait anyway.

You get these little pieces of your childhood back when you have kids, little excuses for doing the things you used to love. Swimming for fun not fitness; watching the Muppet Movie; sitting on the floor and playing with toys. Plus, being with kids makes you sort of invisible, and less self-conscious. Kids draw all the attention, so you worry less about what you look like, at least till they turn 12 and become ashamed to be seen with you.

It makes up a little for having no privacy and being at someone else’s beck and call 24/7.

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