Swimming in the Adult Pool

I can almost feel the envious loathing heading my way so I will get this first confession out of the way quickly, like pulling off a Band-Aid: my family and I just got back from a sunny beach in Mexico. OK, I said it!

If you haven’t stopped reading in disgust, thank you. I can assure you that I am overwhelmingly grateful to my parents, the benefactors who orchestrated this unforgettable Thanksgiving holiday for our entire extended family, and that I feel extraordinarily humbled to have enjoyed this amazing escape from reality! I can also assure you that I want to do my best to share my most sublime, delicious moment with you, so that hopefully you can savor a teeny bit of vicarious bliss. Sound okay?

Ian and I had no doubt the kids would LOVE this vacation. They each found their sublime moments easily.

Two-year-old Daisy’s moment happened while she cradled a bright red tropical bird in her hands. (For our little bird-lover, this was indescribably awesome, although as one of my wildlife-loving friends points out, probably far less awesome for the bird.)

7-year-old Clara found her bliss in the ocean, where she was the only kid in our family brave enough to drop fish food and allow them to swarm tightly around her. I won’t forget the awe in her face, and the courageous way she stood perfectly still without flinching, while I cowered near the shoreline.

10-year-old Cal found his bravado at – where else – the swim-up bar. Listening to my bilingual pre-tween stun the bartenders by ordering alcohol-free pina coladas in flawless Spanish was priceless.

But for those of us on the trip who are parents of young ones – Ian and I, my brothers and their wives – it would be harder to let the “parent guard” drop long enough to feel those blissful moments. I knew we had to wait patiently for them to come – and hold on tight when they arrived.

In the end, I didn’t find my moments of bliss at the bottom of my many margarita glasses (although they were wonderful.) I could start to feel that sense of bottomless wonder as I stared at the stunning sun dropping behind palm trees, and watched impossibly blue waves gently ripple onto white sand.

It started growing when the ladies on our trip joined me for a brief hour in a mysterious place called the “adult pool.” It was nothing like the adult pool I picture in Hugh Hefner’s grotto, this was more of a zen getaway than a Playboy paradise. Beautifully manicured gardens and large concrete statues of frogs surrounded a huge pool made of dark blue tiles. We sipped fruity drinks and tried – really hard – not to worry about our kids swimming with the dads in the “non-adult” pool.

I could taste the bliss then – but I didn’t really find it until I found the blue tiled chair. It was late in the afternoon, and I was whirling Daisy around in a raft. We crossed over to some very tempting blue tiled reclining chairs built into one side of the pool, halfway submerged in the cool water. Against logic, I plunked my squirmy 2-year-old up onto the slippery surface, and told her to sit down. Keeping one hand on her, I sat down in the chair next to hers. I turned my face into the sun and tipped back my sunglasses. I drank it all in. “Hold onto this moment!” I commanded myself. “Remember this when you are freezing cold in Indiana in January! Don’t forget this!” Daisy wiggled around, sat in my lap, moved to another chair – but every moment I could, I closed my eyes and faced the sun.

It only lasted a few moments. But Ian says it was the first time in forever that he has seen me looking really, really relaxed.

When the squirming became too much, we got back into the water, Daisy got back in her raft, and I stared at that chair as we glided away.

One moment – that’s all I needed. I hope by January, I can still feel that incredible Mexico sun.

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