Unbridled joy

I’ve decided that the following equation is always true: a youngster + a swimming hole of some sort = unbridled joy. A new day of a new week has brought a lot of new people poolside. And from the looks of it, a lot of kids and tweens are loving the fact that they are officially on spring break.

And why wouldn’t they be? Was there anything better as a young child than the combination of a giant, crystal-clear swimming pool or mostly clear pond or lake or Slip ’N Slide, a hot sun and endless time? Toss in some ICEE pops and you had the makings of a most-excellent day.

During the summer months growing up, my brothers and I would daily ask our mom to take us to the local swimming pool. We spent countless hours perfecting our dives and cannon balls while seeing who could hold their breath the longest while underwater.

If we couldn’t go to the pool, we’d pull out a giant tarp, a hose and sprinklers and turn our backyard into a mudhole. Dad was so pleased. We went through a number of kiddie pools, too, not one standing up to the exuberance of four energetic kids.

On weekends, we’d sometimes make our way to Indian Lake State Park in Lakeview, Ohio, where we would spend most of our waking hours lying on brightly colored rafts or doggy-paddling in the lake. Sure, we couldn’t see our toes once we waded in past our knees, and our rafts always sprang air leaks, but we didn’t care. It was hot, and the water was wet!

When our parents decided to dig a pond in our yard, my youngest brother and I were elated. We’d be able to swim all the time! Oh, the possibilities! And, swim we did. We swam. We floated. We did flips. We did handstands. We pushed each other off the deck and oftentimes underwater. We were in heaven.

Which makes me wonder, will heaven have a swimming pool? Or a lake? I hope so.

Anyway, somewhere along the way, we turned into teenagers and the amount of time we spent in the water became less and less while the time spent on our lounge chairs or our towels became more and more. If it was really hot, we’d jump in and cool off, but our pool and pond times became less of a physical activity and more of a leisurely one.

These days, I can spend an entire day by the pool without actually getting in. Which is why watching all the kids running around, jumping in and out, splashing and squealing, brings a smile to my face. Because I remember those days of waking up eager to get in the water and lamenting having to get out for dinner.

So, soak it up while you can, kids! Because one day soon you’ll find yourself with a few more responsibilities than simply making sure you’ve gathered up all of your pool toys. And, you’ll probably notice that sitting around in a wet swimsuit isn’t all that enjoyable.

But that’s for another day, and hopefully one far away from today.

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