In Over my Head

“So, what, just try it. C’mon, Honey!” My granddaughter challenged.

The tilt of her head, the gleam in her eyes, and the smile on her face was a dare all on its own.

One Wednesday afternoon this summer, I met my kids for lunch at the Florence Pioneer Park adjacent to the local pool. It was a hot afternoon, and we were ready to cool off in the sun-splashed water. After lunch, we waited in line with others until the doors opened.

Located in our old stomping grounds, we enjoyed the company of family and friends. It was fun to catch up with everyone as we lounged in and out of the water.

About every 45 minutes, the lifeguards blew their whistles, and all the kids would exit the pool for a break. It provided time for the kids to grab a drink of water, add sunscreen, and hopefully use the restroom if you know what I mean!

10 July 2019

Although the adults could stay and enjoy a few minutes of quiet without the swarming numbers, I decided I needed to add some sunscreen. Sitting with my granddaughter, Kylie, we chatted as we rubbed the glob of gooey cream into our skin.

“When it’s time to go back in, you should go off the diving board,” Kylie stated.

Smiling at my twelve-year-old girl, I replied, “I am not sure about that.”

Although I loved swimming, I had not dived from a board for over twenty years! And for good reason, the thought kinda struck fear. What if I belly-flopped? Then, of course, there was a moment of sanity when the thoughts of my back injury crept into my thoughts.

“Why not? She demanded.

“Well, I have not dived for years.”

“So, what, just try it. C’mon, Honey!” My granddaughter challenged.
The tilt of her head, the gleam in her eyes, and the smile on her face was a dare all on its own.

“What about my back?” I asked my girl.

“Oh, yeah,” she responded. And for a moment a look of disappointment crossed her face. It tore through me. Too many times, I had to sit out of family activities or decline invitations because of my injury and the pain it created.

Suddenly, she perked up. “I know. You can jump off the diving board!”

Chuckling, I looked into her sweet face and knew I could not disappoint her. “Okay,” I told her as I accepted her dare.

“Really?” She squealed.

“Really,” I promised.

When the lifeguards gave the signal for the kids to enter the pools, I told her, “Let’s go.”

Jumping up, she broke into a huge smile. She quickly took off toward the deep end of the pool. Slowly, I hobbled behind her. My afternoon ventures had slowed me down. Kylie stopped so that I could catch up to her. A look of concern spread across her face as she watched me limp towards her. “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” she quietly stated.

Although I should have listened to the voice of reason, I was determined. At that moment, I decided I could not disappoint my baby girl, and I walked up to the board. Standing next to me, Kylie looked troubled. Once the little girl in front of took her turn, I took off my bifocals, “Here, hold my glasses,” I stated. My girl still had doubts; her worries just bolstered my courage. I had to do this.

I carefully climbed and even struggled up the short ladder and tip-toed to the end of the board. While it was the low dive, it still seemed a little higher than I recalled. When I reached the end, I glanced at Kylie. Her troubled countenance made my heart sink. All I could think about was making my granddaughter smile. Suddenly, I knew what I had to do. Before I changed my mind, I bounced once on the board and dived into the water. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I awkwardly rolled into the water, almost somersaulting. Once I sliced through the surface, water rushed to my nose, and one aqua shoe flew off and floated in the pool. As I slowed in the deep end, I reversed and headed towards the light. Relieved, I realized nothing hurt more than usual.

Once I surfaced, Kylie was bending over, looking into the pool. “I got water in my nose.” I sounded like I had a cold. Kylie grinned. “My shoe popped off too.”

“It’s floating on the water,” We looked at each other and started laughing. The next child on the diving board offered to get it for me before she jumped into the water. The little girl that retrieved my shoe asked if I would teach her how to dive. One little guy told me he thought it was cool that I was a gramma that still went off the diving board. I basked in my moment.

Once my daughter discovered my escapade, she shook her head. “Ann Marie,” she said in her scolding mom voice. “You are worse than the kids,” she continued with a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.

Kylie, Honey, and Jaxon
10 July 2019

For the rest of the afternoon, we played until closing time. As I hobbled up the stairs and out of the pool, my old body ached, and I was worn-out, but it was a good tired. That day, I played with my grandkids, taught two little girls how to dive, and accepted a dare from my Kylie. I laughed as this gramma rejoiced in the moment. Life was good, especially in the deep end, when I was in over my head!

Cover: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

10 thoughts on “In Over my Head

  1. This is great Ann Marie. I would have applauded your victory.

    I did not see a bikini in the photo, which I was thinking about regarding your comment to a similar story I shared with you just over a year (yes a whole year) ago. I should have answered your remark at the time but it did not occur to me at the time to quip something about how, through this whole collection of memories – I found a certain aesthetic value to that strange swimwear. I never did figure out how the girls I knew, who would never been seen in their underwear somehow rationalized going out in a bikini – which even limited experience I had with such things (sisters) their underwear would have covered more.

    Anyway, if you’d like a second ride along with my summer story about water adventures back in high school, here it is.

    Back in the day before back injuries and other old age mutations – I can just see us taking turns off of that old high dive, and likely you threatening to smack me good if I made a comment – any comment about your bikini. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bikinis are the devil…stopped wearing them..after an embarrassing mishap…let’s just say it’s more for sunbathing than for diving…lol…

      May not have smacked..but definitely would dunked you when you were not looking.

      Liked by 1 person

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