Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Life Aquatic



Two years ago Madison spent most of the summer sitting on the steps of my parents’ pool. She would occasionally allow me to carry her into the water and around the shallow end, but was most comfortable resting within the safety and tranquility of that white three-step semi-circle.

Last year she more or less had her run of the pool, even jumped off the diving board a few times, but always when assisted by a floatie or noodle or some other form of artificial buoyancy. There was a young woman who lived a few doors down from our old house and offered swimming lessons in her family’s pool, and last summer we brought Madison there every week or so to jump start the process and get her comfortable in the water.

So far this year she’s been doing well in the shallow end, swimming around, dunking her head under the water and coming up smiling.

But today was something different… today was a first… today she swam under her own power in the deep end for the first time – swam all the way across the pool, from the steps to the diving board and back. Once, then twice, three times… I lost count.

At some point between laps Madison asked me how long the pool had been out there in Grandma and Poppy’s backyard. “Hmm,” I said. “I guess they put this in about 28 years ago.”

“Twenty eight years!?” Madison said. “You mean like back when there were dinosaurs?”

“No, Maddie, there weren’t any dinosaurs back then.”

“Oh,” she said, reaching out to begin another glide across the water. “I love this pool, Daddy.”

This was all the more sweet for me because it happened in the pool that came into my life when I was a kid… the pool that was with me through high school and college. The pool I floated around in during Live Aid weekend, running back into the house every few hours with a towel wrapped around me to throw a new tape in the VCR.

We’ve happily spent more time in this blue rectangle of water since the kids were born than in all the years that came before. And, today, I’m pleased and proud to say, Madison owned it.

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