Thursday was Philip’s first day of second grade. When he woke up yesterday at 1:30 am, I was concerned it would be a rough one. Fortunately (for both of us), he fell back asleep at 4:30 and we both caught a few more zzz’s before heading to work and school.
Still, I expected him to be asleep when I got home last night. I had decided that, napping or not, I would take him to the pool. Thursday was toasty, so I figured we would both enjoy splashing around to cool off. If he was taking a nap, going to the pool would wake him up yet wear him out for a normal bedtime. If he was awake, I thought it would be a great way for Philip to unwind since he’s gotten used to spending most of his days unclothed and playing at home. Wearing a shirt and being told what to do for eight hours would be an adjustment.
A shirtless Philip greeted me at the top of the stairs when I got home and pulled me to the couch so he could get deep pressure squeezes. It was a good sign that he was awake.
“Do you want to go to the pool?” I asked him.
He followed me as I grabbed our swimsuits, towels, and sunscreen then he raced off while I changed. I found him behind the recliner pressing his face into a fleece blanket. I could see he was in no hurry to go. I decided to make supper first instead of waiting until after as I had all summer long. I knew we should still have at least an hour of swimming before the pool closed.
When I pulled into the parking lot, I got nervous. Arriving at the same time were many women I recognized as faithful attendees of the free water aerobics classes taught by one of the lifeguards. The classes are usually held in the morning at 11 am while I’m at work or in the evenings at 7 pm, just about the time Philip and I are heading home for supper. The pool is closed to other users during aerobics. I had worried that my whispered, “Please be open, please be open,” prayers had gone unanswered.
We weren’t turned away, so Philip and I removed our shirts and sandals and got into the pool. I overheard one lady say, “I didn’t want to miss the last class.”
It turned out that this final class of the year was being held at a special, earlier time. Most of the women I had noticed assembling had come to present a thank you card to the instructor. They left and only three women remained for the class. They chatted comfortably as they warmed up by walking back and forth in the shallow end with pool noodles.
The instructor jumped in and called, “Let’s get started.” The three women formed a small semi-circle in front of him and began to copy his stretches.
Philip was swimming and playing on his own, so I started doing laps. As I swam, I thought about how I wished I could have participated in the aerobics classes. I love swimming but I know variety keeps me motivated to stay physically active. The timing of the classes never worked out. Philip needs the pool as much as I do so I couldn’t imagine going without him. Except on this night, the aerobics classes took up the whole pool leaving no space for him to swim and play.
Here’s my chance, I thought. But I don’t know any of these people. They’ll probably think I’m butting.
I continued to swim. After three or four more laps, I grabbed a noodle and edged over to the group.
“May I join you?” I asked.
“Sure!” replied the teacher and the other woman smiled and nodded. For the next hour, I stretched and walked and squatted and kicked. Philip came over once to touch base but otherwise was safely occupied. I’m glad I got over myself and joined in. I met new people and got a good workout in. Plus, I learned some activities I can do on my own next summer even if I never get to join a class again.