Heck I made the two 11 yo’s and one 12 yo today at least stop and wave at me between runs down the trail. (And, that’s a stretch, when Dan was 11, I was still in the water most of the time with the boys!) AND, I’m all for teaching kids to cook, clean, do basic sewing, do laundry, iron, garden, fix cars, fix the house and all the rest – but it’s something I think they need to learn as PEOPLE – not as a future wife, mother, husband, or future anything. You just need to know how to do that stuff. I figure the kids have a leg up if they know this stuff coming out of high school.
I’m a slacker, but I’m here tonight. It’s been a long summer for Andy and me. Sharing a car with three older, working, schooling brothers is not all it’s cracked up to be. Andy and I have spent a LOT of time together this summer. We’ve watched a LOT of Sponge Bob, done some puzzles, played a ton of board games, but sometimes you just want to leave the house. I took a shower on Wednesday morning and came out to find Andy sitting on the couch, eating cold leftover spaghetti, with two long curls of paper hanging out of his nose and singing along with Sponge Bob. School starts on Monday. We’ve crossed the line into stoopid.
Last night, however, we got a break. Two of Andy’s friends spent the night. They got to stay up late, eat junk and sleep in. Well, the sleeping in was an option I hoped they’d take, but, ehhhh, not so much. Today, we had a car!!!! The three boys and I piled into the car and headed to
(This video was taken by someone, not me, in December when no one is there. But, it truly is this beautiful. For our visit today, add several hundred people floating in giant inner tubes and almost no wild life – the boys did see a fawn today, though!)
We packed a picnic of bread I baked last night while I was waiting for the boys to settle down, pepperoni, assorted cheese, apples, water, ginger ale and a couple of Diet Cokes for me. I had my book (The Stand, Stephen King – Dan convinced me that the mini-series I saw back in the 80’s – with Molly Ringwald!!!!! – does not compare to the book – so far, he’s right), ice and a comfy beach chair. The boys are old enough to float down the trail on their own – it takes about 1/2 an hour. I positioned myself at the end of the trail in the shade. They’d stop by for snacks or a drink with each run. This pulled me out of my book and let me know all was well.
In front of me were two women about my age who, between them, had nine kids. The kids ranged in age from 18-19 down to about 3. The women were having an animated conversation about courting vs. dating (yes, I guess this does happen in real life). I was into my book, but I could not help eavesdropping. One of the women was clearly in charge of the conversation. The other must have sought her out for advice. I’ll be the first to say you could not pay me to attend whatever church it is they attend – they were not kind or clever or even very persuasive in their arguments. Still, though, they had absolutely beautiful, fun, nice kids – their kids were doing what “my” kids were doing, running the trail and checking in about every 1/2 hour. I guess because the women were so wrapped up in their own conversation they lost track of the little kids. I was mostly reading and I assumed that the very short folks were being watched by the older siblings.
I was wrong. Late into the day, I was snacking and reading and ignoring as best I could the women in front of me (the older, louder woman was still going on and on about modesty and training up girls to be wives and mothers – as a wife and mother, I’m glad I had a choice and some fall-back skills in case Mike had turned out to be a total loser) But, once again, I digress. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed red and movement. It was a lifeguard (at best this kid was 17) carrying a small girl in one arm and leading another small girl by the hand. By small I mean under five.
He addressed the two women in front of me saying he’d pulled the little (wee, wee, tiny girls) out of water 2′ over their heads and in a strong current. He asked the women if they’d seen the multiple signs about kids under the age of 8 being supervised at all times. The older of the two women was angry. “You mean we have to move? Those girls (all of 3&4) can swim.” The poor kid-lifeguard was trying very hard to be nice. I noticed an Orange County cop (who had been patrolling up and down in his Reno 9-11 shorts all day long – nice enough guy, but the shorts????) talking into his radio. The lifeguard explained that, if they wanted the little girls to swim in the shallow part of the Springs, that yes, they’d have to move and keep an eye on the girls. “WELL ISN’T THIS YOUR JOB??????” Yes, she did. She said this. I was up out of my chair and, thank heavens, the park manager arrived to take charge. I’m thinking Reno 9-11 called him. Whew – I suck at confrontation.
REALLY????? A young man-boy brings you your 4-year-old who you have not looked at once in three hours (I assumed the little girls were being supervised by the older kids) and the best you have to offer is “WELL ISN’T THIS YOUR JOB??????” It was horrifying to watch. I have seen all kinds of crazy things at this park, but this was by far the most upsetting. Do any of you truly rely on a 17-18 year old boy in charge of hundreds of people for the absolute safety of your itty-bitty daughter?????
And, this is a woman “training” her daughters to become good wives and mothers. Maybe mom should try mastering this first??
Lest you think I’m unforgiving, I’ve “lost” all of my kids (not at the same time) at least once. However, I’ve never left them near water where I could not see them – at least not until they could outswim me. I went years and years and years without reading on the beach or at the springs while I stood in nasty mucky water and withstood waves. I don’t care how many kids you have or how old you are when you have them, you HAVE to pay attention. That teenage lifeguard is there because he wanted a job where he could scope out teenage girls . . . your toddler is not high on his list.
Grrrr . . . weird day.