Today the girls and I met up with friends to go to the local water park. We had yet to go, the park was approaching being a few years old and it was a halfway point for the families to meet up. We packed a cooler and towels, loaded up on the sunblock and headed out. In the rain. While lightning struck the ground once or twice. “Ugh”, I grumbled, “it looks horrible out; I hope the pool isn’t closed”. Little Sister reminded me to “Look on the bright side, even if it’s behind you”. From the mouths of babes.
By the time we got to the park it had cleared considerably and upon seeing a few cars and what appeared to be no line for entrance I was thrilled to have soldiered on. I found a spot slightly shaded and pulled that foil looking cover that Moms have in their trunks over the windshield– folding it upside down and tucking it into my micro sun visors. Then we saw the line. After that we saw the camp buses, unloading their neon yellow and fluorescent orange charges, swarming the gates. Fuuuuuuuuudge.
We survived the line. The kids threw their clothes off and flung themselves into the lazy river. We hit the slides, we played in the slash pad and returned to the river. There were the highs of warm, sun kissed little faces and frosty cherry, blueberry and coke icees. There were lows – the blacked out enclosed waterslide that left the littlest in tears and nauseous (I can testify that it was slightly terrifying) tied only to the “mandatory 20 minute evacuation and sterilization of the splash pad” (yes, that is exactly why it had to be done). In between, the girls had to take a swim test to prove they could handle going off the diving board, (both passed the swim test, only one could handle going off the board).
It took me back to going to waterparks as a kid myself, when the lifeguards were tanned teenagers with dreamy names like Blair and Bjorn, all prestige in their towers, whistles at the ready. I glimpsed my future, hearing the tween girls ask each other repeatedly “are you, like, mad at me” and “do you still want to be my best friend”, all wounded eyes and self-imposed suffering.
It set us back $43.10 (they got me on the extra $1 rain protection) but I could have added four cushioned shaded lounge spaces for an additional $24.95 – yes they were billing for shade (which we were able to secure free of charge in the general admission space). I managed to polish off both kids left over potato chips (I couldn’t be WASTEFUL!). But I was in glorious company, the sun was shining and I watched as these little girls grew up a little more in front of my eyes. I just cut off my wristbands (the original old school souvenirs) declaring my admission and noting “I CAN SWIM”, which was oddly validating. I was able to have that uneasy feeling as I walked out onto the diving board and the exhilaration of the plunge once I’d jumped off. I watched the girls join the big kids in their own little gang of linked inner tubes, a few spots removed and I realized that was a pretty sweet spot to be in.
I think I am at a place where I am able to see what I am going through as part of a life experience. Not necessarily good or bad, but part of my story. I thought a lot about what Little Sister was talking about in the car. So much is said now about living in the now, being fully present in only this moment. But sometimes we need to relive those bright sides (even if they are behind us) to draw strength from them. I got a bonus, I saw it as good while it was happening and I get to keep it for later. I hope you are racking those moments up as well this week.