I was sitting by the edge of the pool, my legs dangling over the side, enjoying a little bit of reprieve without having to, you know, actually get in the water. I see a figure swimming under the water, approaching. I can only assume it’s Emily. And after she has grabbed my ankle and started to surface, I realize that it’s not a brown and white polka-dotted bikini on a brown-haired little girl, but a pair of blue swim trunks on a blond-headed little boy. A child who is not mine.
“I can see under water,” he says.
“You can?” I ask.
“Yes! Without goggles too. You are impressed, I can tell.”
“I sure am.”
“Are you coming in?”
“Eh. I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure I am going to just sit here for a bit. I really don’t feel like getting wet.”
An overly outgoing kid, I thought.
And then all of a sudden I WAS IN THE WATER.
“Now you definitely have to come in! ha ha!” he says, and shoots me a huge smile.
“Um. OKAY. Thanks for that.”
“Here I come!” He yells and swims around and throws his arms around my neck. “I love this pool, don’t you?”
“Well, not any more.”
“What? It’s my favorite one in this whole place. I’m seven. I just lost a tooth last week. Wanna see? I have another loose one, but I don’t know when this one is going to come out. I just keep wiggling. I love swimming. Don’t you? Can I dunk you in the water?”
“No. Where’s your Mommy and Daddy? They probably would let you dunk them?”
“Well, I DON’T HAVE A DAD.”
“And I don’t know where my mom is. Somewhere by the lazy river, I think. That’s where she was this morning, I think. I don’t think I could dunk her though. She would be mad. She’s always mad.”
“Do you like hamburgers? I love them. But not cheeseburgers. I don’t know. I just don’t really love cheese. But you know what I do like? Your bathing suit! It’s so bright!”
“Hey, buddy. I think my family is leaving for the day. I gotta get out of the pool now.”
“Oh really? Aw, man. I think I’m probably going to be here for a while.”
“You are lucky. I have to go upstairs and take a shower. Boo.”
“HA! Yeah, that’s no fun.Â Hey…are you going to be here to play tomorrow?”
…and that was when I discovered that my 7-year-old friend was just doing what other 7-year-old kids do on vacation. He was making friends with other kids. Only he failed to realize that I am a 32-year-old mother of three, and not another kid left on her own to fend for herself while her mom tanned over by the lazy river. He thought I was, well, like her.
And now I feel kind of badly that I didn’t show up the next day to play.