Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Spontaneity. The act of doing something spur of the moment, unplanned and just because...
After a long day of work (only six more school days to go!), all I wanted to do was take a nap. My boys had other ideas. They wanted to go to the YMCA and hit the pool. My usual response? Mommy had a long day and she's tired. Not today...maybe on the weekend. Yesterday's response? Go put on your trunks, let's go. For me, that is spontaneous.
On the way there I thought about my dad. He passed away in the summer of 2010 but I think about him every day. My oldest child is Dad reincarnated with his caring personality, abundant talents and his ability to talk all day, every day without ever running out of things to say.
He looks very much like him as well so it sort of takes the edge off of missing him so much.
Anyway, when I was kid, Dad worked long hours in the hot sun running his roofing business...Shoreline Roofing. I still have one of his business cards- as old as I am the darn thing is an antique! He would come home dragging his butt exhausted and covered in dust and dirt. I am absolutely certain he would have loved to take a cold shower, sit on the couch and drink a beer. I would have, if I were him. Instead, he put me and my sister in his truck and drove us down to one of the many beaches on Lake Ontario near where we lived and we went swimming. I want to say we did this nearly every day all summer long. Not too many people had backyard pools in those days.
On the way to the YMCA I remembered the summer when I broke my wrist ( another story for another day!) and he taped my arm up in trash bags and duct tape so I could still play in the waves at our favorite swimming hole.
I had to smile. I must have looked ridiculous.
We were not a wealthy family but we were happy and we made our own fun. I grew up in a time where people worked hard for what they had and electronic entertainment was non-existent. Phones were attached to cords and most families had one television and one car. Cable? Not until I was a teenager. Internet? What?
To have a cast on my arm for the whole summer would have made for a very long, hot summer if Dad hadn't managed to come up with a solution. Sure I had to hold my arm up out of the water the entire time but it was so much better than sitting in the sand watching my sister have fun.
Apparently, the YMCA is the place to be for the grade school set. We were standing at the check in desk and they started seeing kids they knew. By the time we made it to the outside pool the boys were itching to get in the water. They stepped out side, kicked off their shoes and threw their towels into my arms. I remembered the joy and excitement of that first jump into the chill waters of Lake Ontario and I instantly forgave them. Especially when I discovered my youngest sister, my brother in law and their two little ones also playing at the pool. I love my niece and nephew. My sister and her husband too. They are pretty much my social life when I am not at work or running to the baseball field. Seeing them brightens my day. The long day, the hot sun and the spontaneous decision to take the kids to the pool turned out OK.
We spent an hour at the pool. The boys found some friends to play in the water with. My preteen son exerted his need for independence and went off to the "deep end" (four feet deep!) with some buddies while I sat and cried internally that he was growing up way too quickly! I got some wet hugs from my nephew and played with my niece. It was worth the time it took to get in the car and drive there when I was so dragging my butt tired.
Where we live, lakes are not plentiful and anyone who is anyone apparently joins the YMCA. I couldn't help but think though, that hopefully my kids would grow up one day to have their own kids, arrive home from work butt dragging tired and say yes, let's go swimming because somewhere in the back of their minds they will remember that I did it for them.
It's about making memories, folks. Memories that last long after our bodies shut down and we are gone from this world. My dad was not perfect, not by a long shot, but he was a good father and the legacy he left behind reflects that. Someday I hope that my children remember me with as much love as I remember him.
Now, put down that tablet, step away from your computer, turn off your smartphone and...go swimming!