“Let’s go! Let’s go!” six-year-old Molly chirped brightly, “I wanna go to the pool!” A cold and rainy Saturday had threatened to descend into boredom, so my husband Jeremy had suggested a family swim at the rec centre. Before I knew it, I was packing a duffel bag with towels, spare clothes, and dry socks and hauling it out to the minivan. Molly was vibrating with glee in her car seat, while three-year-old Andy seemed confused. “It’s too cold for the lake!” he insisted, “I don’t wanna swim!” Indeed, it was positively frigid outside. “No, buddy, this pool is inside a building, and it’s nice and warm,” I said, as I buckled him up. “Hmph,” he replied, lower lip stuck out in a pout. Rolling my eyes, I climbed into the van and the four of us trundled down the driveway. The great thing about our small town is that everything is so close; seven minutes later, we were parked at the rec centre. Talk about door to door service!
The familiar smell of chlorine and disinfectant wafted over us as we walked inside and headed to the change room. After a Charlie Chaplin like hurricane of undressing and dressing, everyone was mostly wearing bathing suits and ready to swim. I crammed our steamer trunk sized bag (how’d it get bigger?) into a tiny locker, and we headed poolside. The water was full of kids, parents, and floaties, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a dog had snuck in. Molly and Jeremy waded into the kiddie pool; I was worried Andy would be overwhelmed, but he walked right in without pause. “Wait for me!” I cried, and soon we were all splashing and laughing. Despite my best efforts to keep my hair dry, I soon looked like a drowned rat and my mascara was streaming down my face. The kiddie pool was shallow, so I was forced to do an awkward crab walk in three feet of water. “This is murder on the ol’ quads” I muttered to Jeremy. At least I could skip leg day tomorrow.
Ninety minutes later, we were all pruney and tired. Leaving the pool was just as cumbersome as arriving, but we made it back to our van, slightly damp and stinking of chlorine. After a quick dinner, it was mercifully bedtime. “This was the best day ever!” Molly cried happily. I gotta admit – I’d had a great time, too! My feelings, however, changed the next morning when every muscle in my body was sore. Isn’t swimming supposed to be low impact? “Why are you so broken?” Jeremy asked, as I hobbled into the kitchen, bent over like a question mark. “Because I forgot I’m old, okay?” I whined pitifully. I spent most of the day curled up on the couch feeling sorry for myself and received no sympathy from my kids. “Don’t you like swimming?” Molly asked. “Sure, I do, sweetie. But do mommy a favour: next time we go to the pool, remind me to do some stretches first!”