Thursday, July 21, 2011


A rainy day in Oregon. Kids home on summer vacation. Boredom sets in easily under such circumstances. Some items on the list of things to do either cost too much or require a nice day. But then......

The Tualatin Valley Recreation Center and Park District is fantastic. Classes are affordable for adults and kids. Pools are available around almost every corner in the county. Baseball fields and soccer fields can be reserved. Parks and playgrounds are available for most any event. Old homes are preserved by the district for offices and an event center. Nature parks are wild and wonderful. We turned to the Rec Center to break the boredom.

I am not a swimming pool person. I can't swim in water over my head. I hyperventilate. The fear embedded when I almost drowned as a small child could not be overcome with swimming lessons as an adult. So a day at the pool is not a big thrill. Yet the kids wanted to go, I needed the exercise. I either took them or had grumpy kids all day.

Evidently, everyone else had the same idea. I hung on to a styrofoam noodle kicking my feet as small children splashed me, ran into me and spun me around. It was almost enough to make me swim to the deep end. Gabby was coming toward me when a man barreled over her to get to a child at the edge of the pool. The boy was in a life jacket....not going anywhere fast. Gabby was on her tiptoes. (She shares her grandma's respect for water.) I grabbed her and glared at the man.

A few years ago Gabby almost drowned when her swim instructor didn't keep an eye on the toddler. The life guard sitting right above her didn't look straight down. Stacey and I saw her go under and not come back up. We ran from the gallery screaming at anyone who would look up from the pool. By the time we got to her, another teacher had pulled her up. I don't take well to adults who don't watch out for all children.

We were in the pool for an hour. I was prunelike and ready to get out.

"Maybe I'll go read while you swim," I told Gabby.

Her eyes got big. "Okay, Grammy. I don't need you here."

Gabby can swim. Yet a voice inside of me told me to stay with her. Her sister was off playing with a friend, and Gabby got stuck with me.

"Next time we'll bring a friend for you," I told her.

"But I like being with you...."

Hm. My book didn't sound so good any more.

It was a day well spent treading water in the 3' shallows while my granddaughter swam out into deeper water to her sister then back to me. It was a good day to watch them having fun as I floated on the sidelines, the camera in my mind shooting memories for another time.

Gotta love the noodle.


  1. A person can't have too much respect for the water. Did you know that a drowning child often does not appear to be in distress? Read my article on water safety for some little-known facts about protecting kids in the water.

  2. So true, Susan. Here in this small town in Indiana on Wednesday two children drowned in separate accidents....two too many.