Friends, Kids and Learning to Swim Underwater

It is 8:56 p.m. and the sun has faded, though it is still light outside. I see the breeze blowing the palms outside my bedroom window. We did not go down to the beach this evening. We are all exhausted. Becky and her boys left for home near noon, moments after Caroline had a tattooing session with the kids out on the side deck. Graham looked sharp with a tattoo on his forehead and double dragons running down his leg. Lulu has a ring of roses around her upper arms.
Hated to see Becky leave. I asked Caroline if they got in any visiting time. She said, "A little. Not much with the kids." It's sad that these two very good friends did not get to have a long meandering conversation with one another. Dear friends since middle school, they've shared both good and hard times. And, yes, they were in each other's wedding parties, too.
On the beach last evening, they asked for a photo together and one of the best has a kite string running through the middle of the image. Yes, there was a small child holding the kite string and she really wanted to be part of the picture. The moms are taller than she is, so only the kite string made it into the shot. There was also another small child - that would be two-year old Malcolm - tugging at his mom's knee. This photo was not an altogether easy one to get.
This afternoon, Caroline and the children and I went back to the bigger of Pointe West's pools. Charlie and Lulu made some momentary 'friends', swam long and hard, wouldn't leave Caroline alone and learned something about diving. Far too much sun for me. And far too much noise and sound. All day, music blanketed the pool area. Sort of 1980s disco stuff or music a DJ might play for a wedding with very mixed age groups. I guess folks need to have music to create a feeling of vacation and partying? I'd take the wind blowing down the beach any day.
Does anyone remember the days before there was Muzak absolutely everywhere? I do. I remember when there was no music in elevators or malls or beauty shops or grocery stores. And then along came a new way to make money - sell music and now it's everywhere. And it truly saps my energy. Because my body tries hard to block out the sound in order to think. If you just go with the music, the brain doesn't work. At least mine doesn't.
This may all sound like a digression, but that music really affected the quality of my day and made me irritable.
So, I hear Caroline in there with the kids. They are not yet asleep and seem to be messing with one another. I keep hearing 'Stop it." Earlier, both were attentive and quiet as I read them a story book. I should have had several books to read to them and then Caroline might have had more than just time enough to go to the bathroom. She might have been able to take a shower without either of them clutching the curtain.
Is it ever thus? I remember my Grandma Della, my mom's mom, telling my brother and me, "Please leave your poor mother alone." as we clung and looked to her to absolutely make our world.
But, hey, the beach is wonderful. And the pools have been perfect teaching places for Caroline to show Charlie how to swim underwater, to sit at the bottom of a pool and to turn somersaults.
He is loving his new skills and I suspect, the ease of learning them with a good teacher. Caroline also showed us a few Camp Monterey's water ballet moves.
And I had to smile and feel my eyes watering when Charlie Bean, flush with the excitement of learning something new, turned to Caroline and said, "I love you, Mom."

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