Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Jump In

We checked in late afternoon to the Surfside Hotel after a dinner of blackened fish tacos (the best) at Mama Kwan's.   We reached our room.  I dropped our bags and slid the curtains and the glass door open.  The sea air burst in.  The rascals took immediately to the beds flopping from one to the other.  I thought about how the novelty of staying in a motel does not wear off.  It is always thrilling.

I stepped out onto the balcony and leaned into the breeze.  It was very cool.  High 60s.

I watched the waves.  I squinted my eyes at them as if they were telling me something but over their crashing and the whistling wind I couldn't quite make it out.

I walked back in with a questions for the troop, "Would you guys rather jump in the pool or head straight for the beach?"

It would be lying to say I didn't hope they'd choose the predictability of the indoor pool just downstairs from where we were.  Four walls and a foreseeable floor.  No curling waves hiding randomness in their rims.

"The pool!!" [I may have mentioned the freezing gale slight chill in the air].

We scrambled with suits and towels and our hotel card keys.  Avery is the last of the four to need a flotation device fashioned to her figure these days when we swim.  It goes without saying that she would rather be floatie free like the rest of 'em.  But, she has insistent parents who would rather not worry.

The pool was perfect.  Very loud.  Though Dr. Gooch thought out loud how he might like an indoor pool.  I thought out loud how it's too loud.  There was a hot tub, too.  Whenever there's a hot tub we always talk about how gross hot tubs are and cringe a little as we see our children filling their mouths with hot tub water and spitting it at one another.  Hot tub to pool to hot tub to pool.  Their dad threw them in the pool one by one over and over, except Lucy who has never liked always hated to be thrown into water.  Then, we sat side by side in pool chairs and watched our four and gave a running commentary on them.  You know, those conversations you have about your children that you save for just the two of you, because if anyone else were there they would throw up or walk out.

"Just look at them.  They're so happy.  This is just what they needed."

This is just what I needed, I thought.

We gave them the ten minute warning.  It was time to head in for a snack and a shower and maybe a sunset walk in the dunes.  Avery wandered over to me and presented me with her best 3-year-old argument as to why she should take off her vest.  "Because I don't like it, Mama!"  We both tried to talk her out of it.  But, we gave in.  "You can only get in the hot tub for a minute then we need to go."

Dr. Gooch put on his jacket.  I began to round up eight shoes.  Avery wandered toward the door, then stopped at the steps of the pool and walked right in.  That little panicked face sinking.

"Craig, get her!!" I yelled.

He jumped in and yanked her out of the pool.  I sat her on the chair.  She was fine, a little shaken up, but fine.

"You see", I began, "this is why we want you to wear your vest."

"Okay, Mama."  Meanwhile, Dr. Gooch was groaning and hunched over holding his knees.

"I broke my toe."  He had jumped in the pool landing on his toe folded under his foot.

Craig and Lucy limped, Avery was carried, and the rest of us walked cold and wet back to the hotel.

The following day we were back on the beach for the first time since July 19th.

 I am happy to report: no sharks.  Though a couple of us were still a bit timid of those waves.  I didn't go in at all.  Lucy, only in the arms of her Dad.  Those beautiful, mysterious, wild waves.

Lessons learned:
bad things happen to good toes
we are not in charge of stuff
so just keep swimming
but take your time.


The Original Mangums said...

So glad you had a good time! I's ok Lucy, take your time! We sure love you Six NC Mangums!

barbaraleigh said...

I am always so honored to be let into the innards of your life, as a stranger and admirer. Thank you.

Judy said...

Love to read about your family.

Tristen said...

His poor toe!! Yikes!

I am struck by the last photograph-- about a father and the safe haven that is his arms around his little girl. Dads are just guys, but to little girls, they are safety and peace and someone to do hard things with. I'm proud of you guys helping her to ease back into the ocean and for helping her to conquer something before it becomes a lifelong fear. Your family is beautiful. Keep on keeping on!

Jac's Mum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
k a t y said...

Oh, man! Poor Craig. I hate that face under water look. We've seen it a few times over the years. I loved Tristen's comment and that photo.

Ingrid said...

Just knowing both you and Craig as parents and seeing this photo makes me admire you and your family even more. I personally feel that part of Lucy's recovery process will be conquering any fear she may have of the beach/ocean waters after the shark attack. I love that she is safely tucked in her father's arms. One day, she will be back in those waters again! One day.

I took an equitation class in college to overcome my fear of horses! How liberating it was when I could trot and canter and even just simply get on a horse!!!! It was VERY hard at first going near "Buttons" (my horse), but after that class, I felt I could conquer anything. I rode a horse just a month ago and loved it. The fear is gone!