These long, hot weeks of summer have thus far been a challenge, an adventure... to find ways to enjoy and learn, to have fun and be together, all without the conveniences of consumer entertainment or accessibility of the familiar. It's been rewarding and sweet to see the ways simple things can bring so much joy and excitement. Things like bike rides and picnics, homemade ice cream and fountain jumping, beach combing and canvas painting, book reading and journal writing, lemonade stands and early morning "soccer training," camping out in the living room and in-house scavenger hunts, porch slip n'slides and popsicles, they all have meant little to no spending and have brought hours of restful play (can there be such a phrase? when you don't feel chaotic or frazzled, but are truly enjoying your Play... it is a beautiful thing).
But today we threw money to the wind and went to the pool. There is a pool here in our city, a beautiful, brilliantly clean, serenely peaceful, gloriously quiet pool where there are umbrellas and soft, fluffy white towels and the water glistens aquamarine and sparkling with sanitary cleanliness. It's an oasis. And ridiculously out of control expensive. It is something that will maybe happen only once every two years. But oh it was worth it. Some of us never left the clear blue waters but for a bite to eat and then it was merely for fuel. We eked out every last hour we could muster and then headed home, sunburned and glowing with the delights of diving in and out of waters like newborn porpoises at play for the first time.
I laughed as I watched each of our children, completely living up to the stereotypes that gave them their nicknames. There was Skills, dedicated and task-oriented from the get-go, intent on learning new swimming techniques and asking repeatedly and without ceasing for the next challenge he could take on. He never left the water or his pursuit of mastering yet another sporting event.
Then Curls. So named because of his curly hair but also his sweet, curl up against your side personality that just wants to cuddle and burrow into anything he rubs up against. Today he wrapped his arms around one of his Daddy's and hung there contentedly with a far-off smile on his face as he watched the mayhem of activity around him. He never left that spot the entire day.
Finally, Scout. Her first move was to run headlong toward the waters edge and attempt to throw herself with abandon into the abyss of shining water, until a strong arm scooped her up from behind (an act repeated more than once). She never tired of jumping fiercely off the edge, giggling with delight and immersing herself completely in the water, time after time after time. My burnt shoulders bear the proof of this.
Tomorrow we return back to normal life. Back to a land where pools don't exist and sometimes we pour water on our tile porch for a little fun in our bathing suits. But today we lived like kings, and even though we may have to eat rice and beans for a week to make up for it, it was well worth it.