So, as you know, I have been pondering Ted finishing up high school and heading off to college in two months—seriously, move-in day is less than two months away—and I’ve had my moments of reflection. I have a baby book in which I carefully detailed each “first,” including all the typical ones like first tooth, first step, and so on. It’s harder to keep track of the “lasts”; one day you just sort of realize, hey, I haven’t had to drive him anywhere in months, and then it kind of starts to sink in that somewhere in the busyness of life I must’ve spoon fed him, helped him dress, checked his homework, washed his jersey, dropped him off, watched his team play for the last time.
I was thinking about this yesterday while sitting by our pool, watching young mothers with toddlers bobbing around in water, trying to have a conversation with one another. Meanwhile, Little was practicing her diving from the blocks and coolly assessing some older middle school girls. And I wondered when the last time was that I had to get in the pool. It’s been a few years, but for a while now I’ve been able to lounge and sun and read, getting in only when I wanted to cool off. Admittedly, I have enjoyed sitting poolside leafing through magazines and glancing up only to count heads or to acknowledge a Momwatchthis moment. Sure, occasionally I had to referee a disagreement over goggles or some such, but for the most part it was a blissful respite from the demands of the day. The Mister and I took Little to the pool late Sunday afternoon. He, of course, jumped right in and swam and played and admired all her handstands, dives, and splashes. I read. When he came over to dry off and stretch out for a bit, he said, “She’s going to want you to come in.” And I said, “Oh, I don’t think so, she hasn’t said anything,” and I began to think of reasons that I didn’t want to get all wet, namely that I needed to stop at the grocery on the way home. And then, she didn’t swim over to ask me to get in with her. For a long time. She was just fine. Without me. Finally, she glided over and said teasingly, “Why don’t you come in, Mommy? Are you afraid to get your hair wet?” I know, sadly, from experience, that I could have begged off and she would’ve shrugged and swam away, but I think I knew that if I didn’t go in this time, it might be the last time she invited me.