Nothing makes winter seem longer than a swimming pool in your backyard. All of the sudden, summer is so definitive. When it’s warm enough to get in the pool, entire days, parties, and playdates are dedicated to it. But when the weather is in the thirties for an entire week, like this winter in Houston, the pool is a cruel reminder of what you’re not doing. And how much of your backyard is dedicated to a hole in the ground collecting leaves.
When M. and I found this house a year ago, we were both a bit leery of the pool. At that time our kids were 4, 1, and 1 and all pretty poor swimmers. Would the pool be a constant invitation for them to climb the safety fence and try out their floating skills? How could I sleep at night, knowing there was a giant hole of water outside that any of my darlings could slip into?
Or would the pool be the missing member of the family–the one who graciously accepted visitors and friends night and day? The one who hosted party after party with its never-ending hospitality? The one who graciously entertained us all summer–long after the kids had abandoned the crafts and were burnt-out on camps? The one who gave M. and I a few quiet hours after the kids were asleep to exercise and relax?
Until the first cool night, when M. and I packed up the floaties and towels, threw out the broken goggles and inner tubes, and called pool season over.
And then the pool, the missing member of the family, turned on us. The unusually cold winter of 2009 brought hard freezes when M. had to nervously mind the pump. It brought thunderstorms when the water’s surface became a blanket of leaves. And way too many frigid nights when we had to submerge our arms into the icy water to clean out the filters.
We cursed the pool. I wished it had never joined our family. The kids ignored it–and if you know the Hergenrader kids, you know, they don’t ignore anyone. Bombard you with questions, yes. Ignore? Never. No one.
But as the weather turns warmer, so does our love for the pool. The kids have new suits and goggles and are counting the days until swimming lessons start.
M. and I have forgiven the pool for attracting every bit of pollen and every single leaf from a three-mile radius.
We’re ready to dive in.
Now if the water temperature would just get above sixty.