This year, as in years past, we rented a house near the beach with a pool. I like having a pool because there are no currents, rip tides or undertows. With a pool, I don’t have to watch my loved ones drift helplessly away in a strong undertow as I try to swim against the tide to rescue them. I can just jump into a finite pool of water and drag them to safety. And this year, it was a salt-water pool (it still has chlorine, but less).
Still, for me, the ocean and its sounds are a lullaby to my sometimes sad and tired soul, Except, of course, when SOS is swimming in it. Then, it becomes this mercurial power, able to allow young children to frolic one moment, and drag them out of reach in a fit of anger the next. I never thought of the sea this way until I became a mom. Then, I remember what a lunatic MOB was about the ocean and her children. And I know whence the neurosis (psychosis) comes.
Back story: MOB wrote letters to our camp director every summer, complete with clippings, about tragedies that happened at summer camps. To be fair, lifeguards had to rescue my sister from an powerful undertow while on a camp beach trip in the early 70s.
These letters started as the neurotic rantings of a crazed mom (can’t you do something about the waves at the beach? Tuna fish sandwiches are unsafe if left unrefrigerated for even a MINUTE).
But over twelve years and three Blogger family children having survived camp, they morphed into amusing missives that the camp director enjoyed getting by hand delivery on visiting day.
But those letters did cause tense moments for me. On visiting days, I was not allowed near water, even a puddle. I was allowed to play tennis, volleyball and do arts and crafts. No softball (MOB sent clippings of kids dying from getting smacked in the head by a baseball or softball), no water sports, or anything else that might cause MOB to write a SECOND letter in one summer.
Yet, one visiting, the only option for the first activity was “tippy canoe” (where we canoed out to the middle of the lake, tipped the canoe over and then swam under the canoe to breathe in the air pocket that was created). In front of the entire camp, the camp director, bellowed, “[Blogger], are you SURE your mother is not coming until the second activity?” When I nodded yes, she continued, looking at the counselors, “This young lady needs at least two more life preservers than necessary because if her mother is early . . . . ” She trailed off as if everyone knew that the consequences would be the end of life as we know it.
Now, back to the present:
SOS loves the ocean and we let him frolic, but under watchful eyes looking for the slightest change in the tides. And he ate some serious sand when he wiped out on his boogie-board a few times. He can get scraped up and bruised, even have a lot of water up his nose. He just cannot drown.
But, thank G-d, he is perfectly happy in a pool. And I love cement-enclosed, stagnant water (West Nile virus, be damned!), although I actually check the filtration system daily to make sure the water is cleaned. Call me crazy, because everyone else does.
So, we do a little bit of both, pool and ocean. And he doesn’t need to know the fear behind these watchful, loving eyes. Until he is old enough to read this blog.