Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Mother and Water

It is a well known fact that my mother cannot swim. She can't float. She can't put her head under water. She just can't swim. Period.

When I was about 9 years old, we went to visit my grandma, aunt, and cousin about an hour and a half away. It was a Saturday, and my dad wasn't able to go, as he was working, protecting the highways and byways of our area. My mom, quite the independent woman, decided that it was absolutely NO problem to take me and my younger brother to see her mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece. As a little sidenote, we had just recently moved to this area because of my dad's promotion and transfer, so this was our first trip to see them from this town, and we were therefore on somewhat unfamiliar territory.

In order to get to their town, we had to go past a heavily used truck route that swerved around a large lake. Okay, no could handle that, and it was pretty looking at the lake with the boats out there. HOWEVER, when we came home it was night, and that means dark.

Saying that I was petrified as we approached the lake area was an understatement. I was 9. I could read the signs. Darn. I knew what was up ahead. THE LAKE. THE SWERVING ROAD. THE TRUCKERS.

I distinctly remember praying to myself over and over that we could make it past the lake without landing IN the lake. In between prayers I was making plans. I knew how to swim. A little. WHEN we went in the lake (not IF) how was I going to save my mother? I would need to get her out of the car first, then shove her to the surface, then push her to the edge, IN THE DARK. My 4 1/2 year old brother would be on his own for a while, but he was a tough cookie and would figure out a way to handle the situation. HAHAHAHAHA

I even went so far as to crouch down in the front seat, where your feet go (and before seat belt laws were in effect), thinking my plan through over and over, while still praying. When we got past the lake without incident and were only about 10 miles from home, I felt the world lift off my shoulders.

I never shared this with my mom until a few years ago and of course she just laughed and laughed. They always thought I was overly dramatic. They just never quite understood me.

Fast forward to yesterday.

My mom came to use the new pool. Alex and I were already in the water, having a good time, so it was great that she came...the more, the merrier. But knowing her thoughts on swimming, I made her walk around the outside of the pool to see how the inside was shaped. I wanted her to see that it sloped down on the sides and from the level shallow end to an 8' x 7' flat pad in the deep end. She didn't think it was a big deal. Okay, whatever mom. I'm just trying to help you out here.

Let me interject here that she loves to get tan in the summer and likes to get in the water while on vacation, as long as it doesn't go past her shoulders.

She came down the steps and was surprised that the shallow end was only 3' deep. "Couldn't you have gotten the shallow end a little deeper?"

"No mom, this is the way it is made."

"Oh. Well I think I'd like it a little deeper here."

"Sorry mom, we can't change it."


I had put the rope across that divided the flat shallow part from the beginning of the slope that didn't stop until you hit the pad in the deep end, which is about 8' deep.

She immediately tried to go underneath the rope. I warned her. "Mom, it will start to slope downward and there will be no stopping you until you get to the bottom. That's why I put the rope help you so that you won't drown."

She started to laugh. And laugh. And laugh. I think the idea of her sliding down that slope was giving her the giggles. I told her to watch me and I walked down the slope most of the way, then came back to her to show her.

After getting herself wet by kneeling in the water a little she attempted to float on a raft. Once I got her situated on the raft and she QUIT LAUGHING ABOUT IT she was set. For a few minutes.

She kept messing with the rope, so I took it down and told her that she better not roll off the float or she'd drown. Then I told Alex that we needed to hire a life guard, just for grandma. She burst into laughter then and started to sway on the raft. I pushed her over into the shallow part and put the rope back up.

Honestly, it was like watching a toddler out there.

She eventually got on a different float that was bigger than just the standard raft and felt very relaxed. She didn't like hitting the rope all the time. FINE. I'LL TAKE THE DARN ROPE DOWN. AGAIN.

I stayed with her as she went over toward the deep end and I told her not to be moving around or she'd roll off and there was no guarantee that we could save her. She started laughing like crazy. That was it for me.

I pushed her back to the shallow end and the rope went back up.

Whew...she was now confined to the kiddie section. I felt such relief.

I had to go inside to check to see who had called...we had heard the phone ringing, and you never know who it could have been. It might even have been my dad, checking on my mom. (It wasn't dad, it was Ted, just seeing how things were going. He must have been taking a break at work.) I told Alex to keep an eye on grandma while I was gone. He laughed. At least it wasn't that evil laugh that makes you wonder what someone is really thinking. Fortunately it was a quick trip inside and when I returned she was still okay. Not long after that though, she decided she'd had enough sun for one day and went home.

I think we need to get an all weather phone jack and phone for out there, with a direct line to 9-1-1.


Anonymous said...

Hahaha...I can always picture your mom making those comments. Naturally your mom would have gotten the shallow end a little deeper! How about sharing the cats in the trunk story?