Yesterday, our neighborhood pool was closed, so we tried another one. This was our first time at the pool, and apparently it is not very popular because it was completely empty, save two teenaged lifeguards. They were less than pleased to see us as our presence meant they had to turn off their ipods and cell phones and actually do their jobs.
And let’s just say that my boys weren’t winning any awards for good behavior. I spent most of our pool time putting one of them in “time out” for running, or getting another out of the filtration ducts that keep them strangely fascinated. When I had finally settled down with my book, five-year-old Noe plopped down on top of me with his wet little body, completely drenching my clothes and my book. Meanwhile, three-year old Asher had to go potty, and insisted on using the urinal in the men’s bathroom. I obviously couldn’t go in there, so I shouted directions to him from outside the bathroom. He couldn’t reach it, gave up and came running out of the bathroom with his swim trunks around his ankles. I scooped him up like a wet, noisy fish and forced him to sit on a toilet in the women’s bathroom before he had an accident.
I’d like to say that this was unusual behavior for them, but unfortunately it’s pretty typical for those last hours just before bedtime.
The two lifeguards looked on with horrified amusement. They whispered back and forth. I could almost hear what they were saying, “What little brats. Why can’t she control her own kids?” I could almost hear them, because those had been my own words when I was their age.
We stayed until the pool closed, and all walked out together: teenaged lifeguards and mother with the bratty little kids. The teenagers got into their sporty SUVs and cranked up the radio. I loaded the boys into their car seats, and cranked up NPR. As the teenaged lifeguards looked at me in my nine-year-old sedan one last time, I knew their thoughts, “I never want her life.”
And as I watched the teenaged lifeguards speed out of the swimming pool parking lot, their lives so full of angst and unnecessary complication, I whispered with amusement, "I'll gladly keep my own life, thank you."