I took my kids to the pool yesterday.
They were all surprisingly cooperative as I ran stroke clinics and made them swim laps and tread water and things like that. We also worked on our stride entry, a method of entering the pool from the side while keeping your head above water so you can keep your eyes on the victim.
"Wait...there's a victim?!" Rachel gasped.
"Yeah, like....a drowning victim."
"Well, that really raises the stakes!"
I suppose it does.
We practiced entering the water with a stride entry and a pool noodle (which isn't really a life-saving device, but we didn't want to get out the pool's rescue rings since they're only for true emergencies) to rescue each other while we took turns pretending to drown. We practiced our surface dives.
We practiced a lot of things. And then Phoebe woke up from her poolside nap and began commanding my attention.
I released the kids from formal lessons and they started a game of "What Time Is It, Mr. Shark?" and I splashed around the pool with Phoebe. The big held a diving contest. Zoë and Benjamin played with her new mermaids. Alexander learned to get into a back float all by himself.
A dark cloud gathered in the sky and I began nervously watching for lightning, which never came. The cloud simply squeezed itself out like a sponge, splattering us with raindrops, and making the pool water shimmer. Alexander thought it was magical.
We were so wet already we didn't care about being caught in the rain.
We just tilted our heads back and laughed at the sky.
And then we got home and I saw the gut-wrenching news about Uvalde, where bullets rained down instead of lluvia, and I...
I remember how scared I was after Sandy Hook—scared to say goodbye to my baby, scared to put her on the bus and send her off to school. Newtown was thousands of miles away from our house, but still I was so anxious to see Rachel after school, to hold her, to see that she was alright.
Parkland was the next "big" school shooting. And now Uvalde.
Plus, you know 948 or so other school shootings (since Sandy Hook).
I've never been happier with homeschooling than I was in the moment I read those words. I knew my babies were all safe. We'd just spent the afternoon playing together at the pool.
But I was also so sad—that so many parents did not get to welcome their little ones home after school. Sad that so little has been done to protect our children. Sad that America seems to be a land of no solutions—we've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas!