One of the great joys of growing up in the Southwest was swimming. There were quite a few pools in our middle-class neighborhood and we were lucky to have one. Most summers I was in the water nearly every day. There were pool parties and Marco Polo, cake and ice cream for my brother’s birthday, sparklers on the fourth of July.


But what I remember most is the endless hours of loafing, floating, daydreaming and adventuring under the water. I can’t have been by myself all that time, but I was definitely in my own world.

Making it happen now is more stressful of course—dressing and prepping myself and two kids, timing the swim against naps and the elements (California pools get cold!), cajoling or forcing everyone out to get dry and back into their clothes. Yes, that was me shrieking “We will not swim again if everyone’s not wrapped in a towel by the time I count to three!” Our recent jaunt in Southern California to see friends and family gave us lots of pool time, but I wondered if it would be worth it, or only “fun in retrospect,” which I’m learning to appreciate but still don’t like as much as actual fun.

So it’s a great delight to report that being in the water with the kids is just as lovely and transporting as it was when I was 7. Both the 2-year-old and the 5-year-old love the water. Actual fun!

The pure joy of floating, zooming, and splashing in the water was as great for them as it was for me. And I managed to keep both their heads above the water and still relax and enjoy being in the pool. Our girl learned to walk, then swim around, in the shallow end of the pool by herself. She got comfortable with her head underwater, she even went under for lost goggles a few times. We all got a little sun.

I’m wondering if this proves that I’m finally getting a handle on what is and isn’t possible with kids in tow. Maybe my expectations are catching up to my new reality? And of course the kids are more and more on board the “we’re a family” idea. Suitcases don’t scare them. A change of scenes doesn’t immediately make them think they might get moved to a new family, again. It’s a joy and a relief to see them relax more and more into being kids.

I’ll say it again, we had actual fun. Praise the Lord!