Wanna know what's so cool about having a part two? You can go back and read part one. If you missed part one, click here, or you can put a little more elbow grease into it and scroll down. I'm good either way.
First off, let me keep my promise and upload these pictures. My husband was funny. He read part one and then he said, "Would you like me to plug the USB cable back in for you?" I'm so glad he picked up on my totally vague hint.Here is the gooey, gluey glop stuck to my hand.And here is the finished product in all its glory ... looking like ground beef.
So, back to my story, because believe it or not, there is more.
We fed the children the grayish brown little treat and strangely, it went over rather well. Then we opened presents, and proceeded with the next phase of our birthday celebration - a trip to the swimming pool. Yes, it is December, and it's stinkin' cold. But the child wanted to take his friends swimming for his birthday, and because I'm a good mother, I conceded the point. Also, being a frugal mother, I realized that by taking the children swimming, I could save money on other treats/activities, so I dovetailed my good motherness with my frugal motherness and it worked.
We ended up with eight children at the pool - three of my own and five guests. Yes, I do have four children, but we left the youngest at home with Grandma. Too hard to corral that many kids all at once. I do not wear a bathing suit, and so I stayed on the side of the pool, observing and taking pictures. After about twenty minutes, I was approached by a lifeguard, who told me that because of public health laws, I was not allowed to be down by the pool unless I was in a suit.
"I'm sorry," I told him. "But this is a birthday party, and most of these aren't my kids. I would rather have you mad at me than have their parents mad at me, and so I will be staying."
The poor lad looked somewhat discomfited. But he had to understand my position - my husband, who was in a suit, was at the other end of the pool with half the children, and the half I was watching wanted to go off the diving board. Like I'm going to ask my husband to supervise eight children, all at the same time? I may be a grumpy wife, but I'm not that grumpy. Plus, I'm a good mother.
"We have a gallery up there, where parents can watch," the lifeguard said, pointing to a glassed-in balcony.
"What good would I be up there?" I asked him.
The poor lad continued to look discomfited. "Well, it's just that it's a health code violation," he explained yet again, perhaps feeling that this time, I would suddenly care.
"I'm not trying to break your rules," I said. "But this is what I've got to do."
"Well, maybe if you took off your shoes ..."
I slid them off and tucked them under my arm.
He wandered off, probably hating his job and possibly his life, in that order.
A few minutes later, he came back. "I just talked with my supervisor, and she said that if you have any children under nine, then a parent needs to be in the water with them."
"I have one eight-year-old, and the rest are older," I said. "My husband is in the pool on that end."
"So, if he's in there, the rest of the kids should be all right," the lifeguard tried to hint.
I had to give the guy some credit. He was trying his best to keep things mellow, and stick to his guns. I don't fault him at all. Yes, indeed, it's not his fault that he was losing this argument. This very mellow argument.
"I'll be staying," I replied. What he needed to understand is that this birthday party was comprised of boys I had taught in Scouts. I know these boys. I know they need watching. I wasn't going anywhere. I felt very strongly that I was supposed to stay by that pool.
"If you sat on that bench, over there, and didn't go near the water ..."
He was extending an olive branch. I took it.
"Thank you," I said, and walked over to the bench.
And as I sat on the bench, it all of a sudden became very clear to me why I had the strong impression that I was not to leave the pool area.
The bench was situated near the shallow end, and from where I sat, I could see two men, in about their late thirties, early forties, come in and climb into the shallow end. They relaxed there for a few minutes, chatting. My daughter, who has turned thirteen this year, came over to ask me if she could swim in one of the lanes, and I gave my permission. As she walked toward the lanes, she had to pass these two men, and I watched them as their eyes followed her. As she passed them, their heads swiveled and they continued to watch her as she made her way to the lane. Eyeballs up and down her body, the whole bit. It was beyond blatant.
Mama saw red.
As soon as my daughter got in the water, one of the men let go from the side of the pool and got into the lane next to hers, and started following her.
Mama saw crimson flecked with black.
I motioned my husband over and told him to get over there and follow our daughter down the length of the pool. He took off. As soon as the man following her saw him coming, he turned back and rejoined his friend at the side.
I had asked my husband to tell my daughter to come back. She did. I watched those two men watch her get out of the pool, and I made eye contact with one of them. My husband was nearby. I stared at the man, flicked my eyes to my husband, then to my daughter, then back to him. Then I raised an eyebrow.
That's my daughter, that's my husband, and we're watching you, I telegraphed. I held his eyes until he broke the connection.
A few minutes later, we rounded up the kids and we left.
I won't bore you with all the other details of the day ... the guest who left his towel in the van even when I told him to bring it and had to share with another child ... or the guest who thought he lost his cell phone in the locker room and it turns out he'd left it at home after all. While vastly entertaining and perfect to relate on days when I want to feel sorry for myself, those details aren't really pertinent to the story.
What is pertinent is my gratitude for the nudge that I needed to stay by the pool. My husband would not have seen what was happening with my daughter from where he was. If I had not broken the law, defied the lifeguard, and possibly put my rec center membership in jeopardy, my daughter could have been put in a very compromising situation. I thought I was there to watch the boys, and I was pretty useful in that regard, I must say. But my daughter needed me there to protect her. I think that's worth a few scowls from the lifeguard, don't you?