Last night was the next session of my kids’ swim class at the local Y. They’re both in the Pike class, though Alex could progress up to Eel, but he’s still kind of leery about jumping into the water unassisted. He does well once he’s in, but it’s the scary jumping in that is holding him back from my husband’s Olympic dreams. Ah well. We all get our bubbles burst from time to time.
Anyway, couple of little things from last night. Okay, three.
First thing – it was EVEN hotter/more humid than usual in the pool room over there. Just in case you were wondering.
Second thing – while we’re sitting with the kids on the benches waiting for the earlier class to finish up, I noticed a little girl about Alex’s height in a swimsuit. She looked familiar, and within a second, I recognized her. She and Alex went to daycare together when he went to earlier place (where he went for about 5 years of his 5 and a half years on the planet). She is very cute in a tomboy girl way. Pretty brown hair, big brown eyes, couple of baby teeth missing in the front with the edges of the adult teeth just starting to appear. Very quick to smile. Her father was tying the styrofoam "bubble" around her middle when she noticed Alex. And I watched her telling her father and pointing to Alex. So I hissed at Alex – "Hey, isn’t that?" And he looked and looked away, because he is a cool macho boy and girls are yucky. Bill joined in and tried to get Alex to say hi, but that didn’t work either. There was something very interesting Alex needed to stare at on the opposite side of the room. The girl and her father sat a row behind us and as they climbed up, she said hi to Alex. But of course, like I said, Alex is a cool, macho manly man boy and girls are yucky. So he ignored her. Which I thought was rude and so I hissed (yes, it’s my day to speak Parsel-tongue) at him "SAY HI TO HER!!!!!" and, realizing I wasn’t just kidding around, he turned around and tossed a casual "hi" over his shoulder in her general direction.
When the teachers came around to call the names of the students in their classes, GUESS who was in class with my kids. Yep! Bill and I grinned to each other like the goofy parents we have become and settled in to watch the show.
Actually, it wasn’t a whole lot of a show. At first, she was at one end of the little line-up of students and he was WAAAAAAAAAAAY at the other. Eventually, after late registrants had been added to the classes, there were 7 kids in that class. Two boys, five girls. And while Julia was still the tiniest, there was one other girl around her size. But back to Alex. The teacher passed out pool noodles to all of the kids and they hooked the noodles under their arms, across their chests, and began paddling and kicking across the width of the pool. This is old hat for Alex and Julia, and like I said, Alex is doing well once he’s in the water, so once he got acclimated to the process, he was way out in front of the pack every time. They’d paddle and kick and splash across the pool, with their instructor helping the kids who were new to it, or joking around with Julia, the class clown. (She hit him with a pool noodle last session. And she was splashing water at him today. He is great with little kids.)
Anyway, again, back to Alex. After one or two races across the pool, lo and behold, guess who now was lined up next to Alex along the edge of the pool. And guess who was chatting away with her like they were old war buddies. I sat there elbowing Bill and giggling. I’m so goofy. Not much else came of it, but at least he wasn’t being aloof any more. He said "bye" to her as we left. Girls aren’t ALWAYS yucky.
And the third thing. If you’ve been reading this blog for oh, the past two weeks or so, you know that Julia has had a bout with Lyme disease. The most recent adventure was when she had to have blood work done. That was last Friday. One of her band aids (the Diego one, on her right arm) came off over the weekend, but she wouldn’t allow anyone to touch the Dora band aid. I’m sure she was afraid of more pain.
But with pain and suffering often come great stories to share with friends and family, and Julia, while not as wordy as her mother, told her story with great passion and drama. I overheard her telling Alex about it, her eyes wide, her face animated….
"I went to the BAD doctor, and she put a SHARP THING in my arms and I GOT BLOOD!" And as she said this, she’d hold our her wounded arms, pointing at the band aids (or where the Diego band aid had been), her face drawn and grave. She knows she’s lucky to have survived that morning. She’s told the story to a few people now, and has her delivery down pat.
So back to last night. We’re watching the kids go back and forth with their pool noodles, and you know, Julia’s small and so she kind of gets hemmed in by some of the slightly larger kids who can take off faster. But she can move pretty fast if no one’s in her way. She smiles hugely through the whole class.
She is not, however, there to learn to swim. At least it didn’t seem like that last night. No, this is her social hour. Social half hour. She and the second-to-littlest girl bonded immediately and spent the swim-across-the-pool time chatting away about hair and nails and makeup and boys.
We didn’t notice this immediately, because we were too busy watching Alex and looking for signs of romance there. And then Bill said "Why is she swimming with her arm like that?" I looked, and there, in the middle of the pack, was Julia, her left arm raised straight up. She looked like she was at a synchronized swim team practice session. I waited for the next graceful move…and then I looked at her face. It was no longer smiling. It was grave. Somber. And her mouth was moving. She was talking to her little best friend, and she was telling her the story of the Bad Doctor Who Put a Sharp Thing in her arms. I saw Julia’s mouth as it formed the words "And I got BLOOD!"
She’d been holding up that arm so her little friend could see, with her own eyes, the scars of battle.