Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lessons Learned at The Pool

Yesterday I had some quality Mommy & Me time with Zachary, so I decided to take him to Splash, a mini-water park in Golden. With no Evan to watch, I figured I could take Zack down as many slides as he wanted and that I could fully pay attention to him while keeping nice and cool. Splash is an experience. Think giant wading pool, then add about 4 million screaming, splashing, out-of-control babies/toddlers/and 10 year olds, then add spraying fountains, a gigantic automated water dumping pail, a jungle gym equipped with sprinklers and tunnels and finally water slides. The result- utter chaos.

We were both totally overwhelmed when we arrived. There were no chairs left so we found a grassy spot to lay our towels down. After lubing Zack up with sun block 200 (okay so I exaggerate a little), we head in. Zack ran straight for the jungle gym. He climbed up and started toward the big kid covered water slide. He hesitated. He turned back and informed me it was "too scary". Okay I shrugged, so we hung out in the sprinklers, got dumped on by the gigantic pail, and eventually even went down the adult-friendly water slide together. At this point, we had been at the pool for approximately 35 minutes, and I had already had enough. It is a little chilly unless you were submerged in the water, which was hard to do when the pool level is one foot high. I was having a difficult time keeping my eye on Zack, as he was diving in and out of the pool, and water sprays from every direction kept obstructing my view. At one point Zack had gotten a fair distance away from me and started to panic. He looked around, wiped the water from his eyes, and called "mama?" "I am right here Zack" I yelled, but he couldn't hear me over the shrieks of ten thousand other kids and the roar of the sprinklers. I saw him twirl around to look in back of him, and then around again, a look of shear terror slowly crept across his face "mommy!!! I can't see you!" I somehow heard him shout. I was trying to head toward him, but my progress was thwarted by a chubby ten year old boy in goggles who barreled into me and knocked me right on my behind. Once I regained my composure and stood up I saw Zack was near hysterics. "Zack!!" I yelled again, he seemed to hear me but he still couldn't find me. When I finally arrived at his side his fear melted away and he gave me a quick smile. "Mommy I was scared cuz I couldn't find you!" And then " Let's go down the slide again!!"

This got me thinking. While I know it is perfectly normal for a child to feel comforted by his parents, and afraid when they feel alone, I am still amazed that I make someone feel safe. Me, who is afraid of any type of bug or rodent, me who probably couldn't fend off a flea and was recently knocked over by a ten-year old, and me who is secretly slightly still a wee bit afraid of the dark myself, I am what reassures you and makes you feel safe? When I think about how Zack must view me it amazes me. He has such a different perspective than I do. I don't think he notices my poochy belly, or my tendency to talk too much. He doesn't see my newly appearing laugh lines, or worry about my inability to keep a clean house. He sees MOMMY. His mommy. And for right now, I am second only to daddy. The truth is Zack loves me unconditionally and trusts that I know best, and that I will keep him safe. I wish he would believe this forever. I fear the day that he starts to see me as more than mommy and as a person, with flaws and imperfections. In the future he will make judgments and have opinions about me just like everyone else. But for a short period of time I can be a HERO. I can be Zack's Mommy.

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