Here fishie fishie fishie…
For as long as I can remember, I have always LOVED the pool. I love to swim, splash, dive in, float in the sun, etc etc. We had our own back yard pool at the last house we lived in and it was glorious. (It may have been what brought my husband and I together when we were first dating, he had a pool and I was always in it!) When we moved it was the one thing I really missed about the old place. But they promised a pool in the new neighborhood, and (a few years later) we finally had one. Now it’s nothing like walking out your door and diving in, but there’s also no upkeep for us, so Curtis is MUCH happier.
With Anthony, the day he turned 6 months old I had him in swimming lessons. We would spend hours after the lesson just floating around, splashing, having a blast. I couldn’t wait for him to get old enough to really enjoy playing in the water. He has always been my cautious boy, so before this summer he wouldn’t jump in, hated getting water on his face, had NO interest in being thrown up in the air and landing in the water… none of the fun stuff that I love.
Secretly, I was always bummed out that he didn’t share this love that I have for all things aquatic.
Then this summer arrived. Before Memorial Day weekend was half over, Anthony decided that he would try putting his face in the water in the baby pool. Then he did it in the big pool. Next he wanted to touch the bottom. Now, he cannonballs in from the side, tries to stay under water for as long as he can hold his breath and LOVES to be thrown as high in the air as I can possible get him so that he can make a GIANT splash coming back into the pool. I LOVE going to the pool with him. We put our goggles on and both go underwater and make silly faces or wave or blow kisses. We will try to talk under water and guess what the other person is saying. It’s awesome. It’s like being a kid at the pool with my friends again.
There’s just one problem. All of his friends are usually at the pool. And guess what, when they are around, I’m just mom, the keeper of the snack bag. The holder of the dive toys. The retriever of the floats when they drift off to the deep end. He wants to play with his friends. They have a blast and it’s awesome to see him having so much fun with them. I love that he is happy and has a life full of friendships.
But, secretly, I’m a little heartbroken. I want to play and splash and be the buddy. He is growing up so fast and I am getting just a glimmer of the nightmarish scene that I have as a very attached mother (be nice, I know I’m a little obsessive, but attached sounds much less crazy). My boy is starting to need me a little less.
Recently a good family friend gave us a copy of the book Only One You. It’s an adorable story about a little fish who is about to leave home and go exploring. His parents sit him down and give him sage advice before sending him out into the world. It’s all about being true to who you are and living the best life you can. It’s a great book with strong messages. We read it often and I can’t help but worry if I am doing my job of getting Anthony ready for the big world as well as I need to be. It’s just going so fast.
So we will go back to the pool tomorrow and I will watch his cannonballs and judge to see which of the kids jumped the farthest, and hand out snacks and fetch rafts. Maybe, just maybe, there’ll be a lull in the action between when the first set of friends has to leave and the next ones arrive and I’ll get the chance to play with my big guy for a little while longer.