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Water logging

July 6, 2010

On a certain recent Sunday, Don went to spend the day hammering on our floors and ceilings (Happy Father’s Day to him…), and I took Jack to spend it at my dad’s.

Usually we park at the top on the county road and walk the almost-mile down. But my son is pushing 30 pounds and can be fickle about hoofing it himself on long walks, so we drove much of the way (and, later, got out without a tow from dad’s truck).

It is hot and sticky here, so the potbellied stove is out of season. Box fans and the pond are in.

That day marked Jack’s inaugural dip in the pond, our spring-fed swimming pool (You might recognize it from my stupid birthday poem?), where my siblings and I all learned to swim.

Jack was a fan of pretending to fish, of sitting on the dock with his toes in the water, and of watching his aunt Emma wrestle with a giant inner tube.  We had a small setback when I decided to swim (Not. Cool.), but his overall response was less than traumatized, which is as much as I could hope for: His would-be first swim last year was a bust, and its replacement had come only a week earlier, in a shallow pool with clear water and smooth bottom. The pond, with its deep, dark, squishy clay floor, is a murkier matter. Let’s call it an acquired taste.

But I went ahead and hoped for more. I love the water, and despite being otherwise athletically inept, I love to swim. I want Jack to know the fun that I had with water wings and cannonballs, in creeks and ponds and lakes and pools and the ocean. And I think he will. Eventually.

*                        *                         *

We are lucky, too, to live 10 minutes from a state park with a playground and a lake, where swimming isn’t allowed but looking is. Between boats, fish, birds and bugs, there’s plenty to see. And it’s lovely to see it on a long summer evening, even – especially!- at the end of a long summer workday.

*                        *                         *

Like many – most? – toddlers, mine loves puddles. His definition of “puddle” generously includes everything from wet ruts in our driveway to giant muddy pools in nearby gravel parking lots to the small river that runs through our town. He is disappointed when they dry up, which seems to be their defining quality – it’s July, and while lakes and ponds stay full of water, even our local creeks are down to a trickle. But it could rain any time, and just in case, Jack keeps  a summertime rubber duck at the ready.

*                        *                         *

Back at our nearby state park: We followed up his first pond swim with a trip to the swimming pool. It is shiny and new, with a sloping, wade-in toddler pool and a small city of mushroom sprinklers, swinging buckets and cascading fountains. He kicked and splashed and laughed. In the big pool, he moved his arms in the water. He pretended to be a boat.

At closing time, he begged to go back in. (“Pleeeeease?”)

And I wished I could say yes.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 11:10 pm

    The rubber ducky makes me smile 🙂
    (… as does seeing you in my reader… )

  2. July 7, 2010 1:36 am

    Go Jack! Swim boy swim!

    And Leslie – you must let me know which dates work. I am ready for some Orange Mango.

  3. July 7, 2010 2:38 am

    OOO my husband wants to take us swimming in our local lake. I think it’s disgusting. The pool, though, I don’t mind.

  4. July 7, 2010 3:59 am

    Oh those pictures–especially the one of Jack standing with the hat on and the lake as a backdrop–are just gorgeous. I love the easy nature of your words, and how reading of your boy and your life always seems to calm me. 🙂

  5. July 7, 2010 1:19 pm

    Jack’s a lucky boy to be so close to so much beauty.

    I am too squeamish to swim in lakes and ponds but I’m glad that my daughter is young enough that she wouldn’t mind giving it a try. Your story inspires me to let go, let my little girl be a little girl, and I can watch her from the sidelines and cheer her on.

  6. July 8, 2010 11:50 am

    Loved this glimpse into your life and the overall sense of wholesome summer it brings. I hope you aren’t too hot!

  7. July 8, 2010 11:58 am

    Okay, so Jack is getting older. It’s so clear in these pictures. He is growing up!

    Also, my son can not (NOT) avoid a puddle. What is it about them? As a kid, I don’t think I ever stepped in one. I didn’t want my legs to be wet. But puddles are like crack to him.

  8. July 9, 2010 11:00 pm

    Loved this summer slice of life Leslie. Love that he enjoys puddles. As adults we avoid them, while children learn to jump in them, no matter what the size.

  9. July 12, 2010 9:50 pm

    Can’t do murky bottoms. Just can’t do it. I admire your bravery and hope Jack will one day acquire a love for it, too. And is that an Aggie or Razorback hat he’s wearing in the lake-looking picture?? I see red but it’s hard to tell the exact shade. =>

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