Friday, March 17, 2017
3.17.17 #sol17 Pool Sneaking
"Mom! We are going to get ARRESTED!" I hissed from the shadows.
"Oh, c'mon, Ang. Just get in here," my mom whisper-laughed.
I was eight. My mom was 28. It was a warm summer night in Florida and we were swimming in a pool, one of my favorite things to do. There was just one catch.
It wasn't our pool.
My mom, a fearless free-spirit, would pair up with her best friend Lola and lead us on so many adventures. I, the oldest, rule-following daughter, hated these adventures. They made me nervous and reckless.
I wouldn't trade them for anything.
Lola and my mom were young moms together in Ft. Myers, FL, before it became the place where everybody's grandparents spend the winter. Between the two of them, they had four daughters, me the oldest. Both of their husbands worked hard, long hours and so these two young women were left to figure out how to entertain us all in a place not yet reached by cable tv.
Neither family had much money at the time, and my mom reminisces that there were plenty of days when she and Lola were digging for change in their couch cushions to wrangle enough gas money to make it to the beach for the day.
Some evenings we'd go to the beach, watch the sunset, then sneak into hotel pools at night, sliding into the pools from the corners, from the shadows. These were the days when pools on the beach were fenced in and it was just a matter of opening a gate to get in. So Lola and my mom, bold as brass, would head on in. I don't think they were ever told to leave. Really, who cares about two women and their gaggle of kids?
But I didn't know that at the time. I remember never allowing myself the satisfaction of full submersion. I'd hide off in the shadows with only my feet in the water. I would watch my sister and my mom splashing quietly around, laughing. I'd feel simultaneously jealous and judgmental of their recklessness.
Other times we'd cruise the neighborhood looking for model homes that had a pool in the backyard. On those evenings, Lola would park her car (in the driveway? on a side street?) and we'd head out back. On these visits we had to be so quiet. The risk level just about sent me over the edge. We'd take a quick dip, just long enough to cool off, before we'd race back to the car and head home.
At the time I thought I had the craziest mom in the world. She exasperated me. Now, though, while I still think I had the craziest mom in the world, I find myself trying to recreate her sense of adventure with my own kids. While we never do anything as daring as sneaking into pools, I do try to instill a sense of wonder in our lives. That feel of magic and adventure defines my childhood and is one of the best gifts my mom gave us.