This time three weeks ago, Audrey and I were heading out to the pool at our building so I could teach her how to swim.
It took us a while to get ready- putting our suits on, suntan lotion on Audrey, packing a snack, water, hat, sunglasses, clean diaper and outfit for post-swimming. I threw them all into a bag that still sits on the entryway table today as I left it later that morning.
Audrey loved the pool noodles they have there- it made her feel more relaxed- so we got a pink one and a green one. “Kick with your legs, kick, kick, kick.” “Blow bubbles with your mouth. Watch mommy.”
We swam for quite a while because it was a hot morning. Then we got out and went to our chairs. I dried her off. Gave her some water. She wanted to head towards the other end of the pool to check out the shower they have there for cleaning off before or after swimming. She hates getting her hair rinsed so since she showed an interest, I put it on and went under to show her: “Look, mommy’s getting her head all wet. It’s so much fun!” She made an attempt to get close, but when she felt the sprays of water on her face, she backed away squinting and putting her hands up to her face. She was more interested in the pile of pool noodles next to the shower.
Then she decided she wanted to go swimming again, so even though I didn’t feel like it, I wanted to encourage her so we walked down the stairs, back in to the water. We swam around a bit more- I stood her up on the side of the wall: “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great…fall!” And she jumped in for me to catch her. “Don’t worry. You can trust mommy. Mommy will always catch you.”
When I’d had enough, we got back out and headed back to our chairs. We sat for a moment, and I felt contentment. I thought to myself how lucky I was to stay home with Audrey, to have this pool to go to, and to have a nice summer planned ahead. “I am very lucky,” I specifically thought.
Then I changed Audrey out of her bathing suit, out of her swimmy diaper into a clean one, and we walked out of the pool gate to head inside. When a woman sitting in a chair outside the pool area saw her walking with me, she commented,
“She looks just like a little doll.”
“Thank you,” I said.
And she did, and I was content again, and very proud.
We walked inside, me with my wet bathing suit darkening the charcoal skirt I had on around the bottom.
“C’mon Audrey, let’s go. Mommy’s getting all wet. Let’s go inside and eat some lunch.”
We entered, I put down my bag of stuff.
I heard the phone ring. I had left it on the kitchen counter that morning.
Audrey was in the little hallway between the entryway and the kitchen and we did that little dance back and forth as I tried to get around her to grab the phone. I remember feeling particularly irritated:
“Audrey, momma needs to get the phone. It’s probably Appa!”
When I grabbed the phone, I fully expected it to be you Dan. I saw it was a foreign country number and quickly said, “Hello!”
“Hi Julia, it’s K.”
I knew. Right then I knew.