Stuck in Overdrive

Yesterday we went to our community pool for the first super hot day of the summer. It was jam-packed; teeming with kids, parents and lifeguards. It was so crowded, there was a line, 45 minutes long, of people waiting to get in. It was filled to capacity, so they instituted their “one leaves, one enters” policy, which sounds very Hunger Games, doesn’t it?

We got there right before that madness.  I brought four kids with me and my oldest was arriving later, walking there with his crew from basketball camp.  So after he arrived, I had five kids under my jurisdiction and it was so crowded that at one point (fine, several points) I couldn’t find any of them.

I brought a book with me. Isn’t that hilarious? Like I actually thought I’d be laying down on a chaise lounge, reading. Sometimes, my optimism is such a beautiful thing. I hope I never lose it.

I also brought three ice cold cans of La Croix, and was stopped by two different groups of Moms that I didn’t know, who told me they thought I had been walking around the pool holding a beer.  They said it in awe, like if it had been beer, they were going to enter my name and number in their iPhones at that moment. I was sorry to disappoint.

It was so unbelievably hot. Heat index was over 100, I heard. 105? The temp was 92 and the sun was angry and intense. As a freckly redhead, I hide from Big Bad Mr. Sun. But there was no escaping him as I made loop after loop of the pool, looking for the bright pink swim shirt of my fearless four-year old who threw herself down the huge water slides over and over.

The line for the snack bar stretched all the way from the picnic area back to the water’s edge of the pool. And the concrete was so hot, you had to wear your flip flops. Each kid had $2 for snacks, but we ended up with a couple extra dollar bills and I couldn’t figure out where they came from, until I looked at Lucy. People, keep your money secure! That’s all I’m going to say about that.

There was a Mom in the snack line, clearly worried about losing her place because she wouldn’t leave it to go talk to her young kids seated on the far side of the picnic area. Instead she shouted at them from afar.

Lila! Sit down! Lilaaaa! Sit! Down! On your bottom!”

Lila was sitting on top of the picnic table instead of on the bench. Every two minutes, her Mom would shout this to her daughter, who totally ignored her. You could hear her voice everywhere. I swear it was following me.

I wore a hat and sunglasses to hide from the sun, but I think it looked like I was hiding from imaginary paparazzi; throw in my “beer” cans and I coulda been Lindsay Lohan, circa 2012, at the Chateau Marmont.

Four friends came up to me and asked me if I was going to blog about this first huge day at the pool. I said ‘no’ to the first person, ‘I don’t think so’ to the second, ‘seriously?’ to the third and ‘WTF??’ to the fourth.

I guess the first scorcher day of summer after school has let out really is a milestone. But I am still in school mode: jumpy, shouty, twitchy, obsessed with schedules and calendars. Worried I’m forgetting something: an assignment, a carpool, canned goods for a food drive. My brain and central nervous system are stuck in overdrive. I can’t quite get my fingernails out of the ceiling yet.

I actually was saying, “Hurry! We’re going to be late!” as I was sunscreening up my brood. Late for what? The pool? Oh my Lord, it’s become a habit. A reflex. I need to fix that now. I am so used to being in a hurry, stressed out, worried about how much I have to do that I couldn’t tell anymore if it was real or imagined.

So I got up super early this morning and started journaling.  I made a list. Turns out, I have no big stressors hanging over my head: no new music to scramble to learn, no rehearsal to run off to, no concert hanging over my head. No homework to supervise, no uniforms to wash, no lunches to pack, no naggy Room Mom emails to send out.

I still have all the normal life stuff to do, but the constant, boot-to-the-neck grind of the school year and working Mom stuff? It’s over, lady. Chill out.

“Lila!! Sit your bottom down!!”

I kept chasing the shade, staking out new chairs when the sun would move. We were there for three and a half hours, and I feel like I earned combat pay.  One of the lifeguards dates our high school sitter, and he came over to say hello. His eyes never looked at my face, though: he kept doing his job, scanning, scanning his little area of the pool. “This is so stressful today. I have ten minutes left till my shift is over, thank goodness.” Talk about earning combat pay.

“Lila!! You have to sit dooooown!”

My La Croix was warm and flat and really starting to piss me off. All I could think was, “My Kingdom for an ice cold Stella,” and also: “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LILA’S MOM, WALK OVER AND SOLVE THAT PROBLEM!!!”

That’s when I knew it was time to leave.  I gathered my kiddos, all the wet towels, my unopened book and headed home, where pizza was delivered and Stella was waiting. Chill out, Mamacita.

Oh, and P.S.: my daughter lost a tooth while we were at the pool, of course. She brought it home in an unused nacho cheese cup from the snack bar. As soon as she got out of the car in our driveway, however, she dropped it and lost it. And please don’t ask if the Tooth Fairy made it to our house last night; you know better than that.

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