My fingers and toes feel like wrinkled old prunes. I guess that's what you get when you spend ninety minutes in a swimming pool! The view from inside the pool is heavenly: below and all around in the distance are rolling foothills, some covered with trees and greenery, some brown and deserty-looking, and still others fairly residential with houses dotting the inclines. Palm trees abound, both in the backyard and down the hill below the backyard.
Now I'm sitting at a poolside table, watching Matthew continue his fish-like exploration of the underwater. Steamy mists rise from the water's surface and it's no wonder that it feels like a bathtub in there. I am in amazement still at how his summer swimming lessons (see previous post for that experience) has transformed this boy - from one who would not put his face in the water five months ago (despite two winter sessions of weekly lessons) to the one I see before me now, diving to the bottom of the pool to collect little stones that he's thrown down there, summersaulting under the water, swimming below the surface like a rocket from one side of the pool to the other, and climbing out of the pool and hurling himself back into the water cannon-ball style, screeching with glee as he goes in.
Today has been the laziest kind of day. Last night, my dad, my fifteen-year-old nephew, Jonathan, and I stayed up past midnight, just talking. I love talking with Jon (as I do with any of my nephews or niece!) - he's an intelligent, relational, well-read guy whose book suggestions I am always eager for. I saw all three boys this summer when they came to visits (from Vancouver), and I've been so looking forward to seeing them, and my brother, again. It's one of the worst parts of not living in Vancouver any more - the fact that I don't see them nearly as often as I wish I could. They're great guys and growing up so fast. My oldest nephew just turned eighteen and is heading off to bible school in Australia shortly - who knows where he'll be after that, but one thing's certain - things will change as he makes his plans for the future and eventually forges out on his own.
So much this year I've thought about how one can never know how things will change - how things can change in just an instant. That's one of the things that makes this part of our vacation so important to me - the fact that we won't know how different things will be next time this year and the importance of appreciating what happens now, today.
Oddly, perhaps, this mentality has also helped me abandon my horror at being seen in a bathing suit this vacation. Again and again, I've put this fear aside and, as a result, I've had so much fun with Matthew and, more recently, his cousins. Despite my feelings about how I look in a swim suit, I love swimming - I feel a bit like that graceful hippo we saw at the zoo the other day - a big ol' girl, effortlessly graceful in the gravity-defying water, making her way through the water without a care in the world!
So, because things may be different tomorrow, I'm going to appreciate the fact now that most of my family is together again, my beloved child is laughing with his dad in the swimming pool, I don't have to cook dinner, and the sun is bright and warm on my neck.