Michelle Martin

Pool days

Sunday, July 15, 2012

There’s nothing like lazy days by the pool. Even if the pool is 11 inches deep, 46 inches across and cost $10.99 at Toys R Us.

We bought the pool — really little more than a big, shallow plastic pan — when the weather started to heat up earlier this summer, and as the thermometer got stuck on the high side of 90 in early July, we more than got our money’s worth.

Teresa likes going out to “put the pool up” almost as much as she likes going in it. “Putting the pool up” just means pulling it out of the garage and setting it down on the grass where it will get midday sun and late afternoon shade. It’s small enough to fill with a garden hose in about 10 minutes.

So just after breakfast, we go out and fill the pool. By the time we’re done, Teresa is just as wet as if she’d gone in, but it doesn’t really matter.

Then we go in or go out — whatever our plans are for the day. Later she has lunch and takes a nap, while the pool basks in the sun. By the time she wakes up, the water is cool but not cold, the shadows are creeping across its surface and it’s time for her swimsuit and sunscreen.

I usually pull a lawn chair into the shade and sit with my feet in the water while Teresa gets in and out of the pool, filling her watering can and watering the plants (and my toes), seeing how many scoops of water it takes to fill her bucket and sometimes putting her face in the water and blowing bubbles.

If Frank is home, he’ll usually put on his swimming trunks and join us, usually starting a water gun fight with Teresa, or challenging himself to hit a mark with the water gun while jumping in and out of the pool.

The pool’s not big enough for any kind of swimming, even for a 2-year-old, but it’s perfect for lounging, which is what I do while they play. And as I sit with the shade on my shoulders and my feet in the water, I watch people walk past on the sidewalk and smile and say hello and I think that there’s really no way to improve on the afternoon.

We do other things in the summer, of course; we go to the beach or to the public pool. In a year or so Teresa will likely be in actual feetoff- the-bottom swimming lessons. Those activities offer the same feeling of refreshment or renewal that water often brings, and apparently always has. Throughout Scripture, water is a sign of cleansing, of healing, of new life.

It doesn’t take a lot of water, either, or even a lot of time. After an hour or so, the once-clean water is muddy and flecked with grass and leaves from the kids jumping in and out. It’s time to use it to fill buckets and water the flowers, before putting the pool away and going in to make dinner.