It was definitely not a spur of the moment decision. I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time. The risks were obvious. Judgment, guilt, shame, humiliation, just to name a few. I’ve heard whispers of it behind closed doors in certain social circles, but have questioned whether or not a person could actually get away with such a thing.
“You can really do that, and it’s legit,” I would ponder, followed by the obvious retaliatory thought any decent mother would have, “I could never do that.”
Turns out I can, and I did, and I took another one down with me in the process.
Text messages were exchanged and the operation was promptly set into motion. We were fully committed. Over thinking was not an option.
As we approached the drop off room for our belongings, my heart was racing like it never had before. Adrenaline surged throughout my entire body in one tidal wave after the next, drowning any message of reason and/or self-doubt my brain was drastically attempting to fire. Beads of sweat began to form along my brow as the physical signs of my desperation began to show.
“You can turn around. It’s not too late. You’ve done nothing wrong,” whispered the entire universe.
Another herculean wave of adrenaline bitch slapped them all to their wobbly chicken shit knees.
“Proceed my lady,” suggested the fairylike woman sitting atop my right shoulder wearing a surprisingly modest swim top and speaking in a British accent for added appeal.
The locked gate was a definite reassurance. They would surely try to escape. This will keep them in, I mean safe.
The stone faced teenager from behind the desk wasted no time in beginning her interrogation.
“Can I have your card ma’am?”
I should’ve already had it out. I was told in no uncertain terms to already have it out. I thought I did! Where is it? Calm down! They’re going to think you’ve never done this before! Everyone is looking at you! FIND YOUR CARD AND HAND IT TO HER YOU FUCKING IDIOT!
“Silly me, here you go sweetie pie,” I said, because apparently I am now 85 years old and from the south.
I hand it to her, but not before she has clearly grown tired and annoyed with the lack of familiarity I have with the entire, and actually quite simple, exchange process.
As she disapprovingly scans my card, she continues on with the questionnaire formalities.
“And where will you be?”
“Where will you be in the building ma’am?”
She’s holding a pencil. She’s going to write it down!
I had so much I wanted to say, “You don’t know. You’re so young. It’s hard sometimes. I barely ever get to talk to adults. It’s just for a little bit. My husband has been gone all week. Look at all the neat things in here. This is way more fun than where I’m going anyway. Please don’t judge me. Please.”
Instead I took a deep breath, looked her straight in the eyes, and as a cloud of diffidence slowly picked me up off the floor and floated me toward the exit, I sheepishly answered, “The pool.”
Maybe she’ll think I’m exercising? Doing laps or something? It’s plausible. This is a gym after all, I thought to myself while suddenly wishing I owned a swim cap for the first time in my entire life.
I kept walking, fighting any urge I had to turn back, trying to appear aloof and fitness-like.
I looked to my sister for any small sign of encouragement.
“This is the best idea you have ever had,” she said as she confidently stepped toward the light with her head held high and towel draped across her shoulder like a goddamn boss.
The next thirty seven minutes were spent lounging outside on an actual lounge chair next to a glorious sea of aqua blue, all the way down at the deep end, where the adults sit, and as far away from the zero depth entry point chaos as we could possibly get.
We had a real life uninterrupted conversation. I got to actually look at my sister’s face while I talked to her. She’s so pretty. I forgot about her high forehead, just as I’m sure she had forgotten about my right temple mole and uneven nostrils. We felt the warm sun on our pale cheeks and took notice of the beautiful white fluffy clouds floating overhead for the first time in at least a decade. I thought one looked like a turtle. She thought it resembled a shirtless Jon Snow in battle. And we laughed and we laughed and we laughed.
“We should probably go get them now.”
So we did. But not before we made the arduous yet extremely satisfying climb to the top. Step after step after muscle pounding step until we reached the unreachable summit. A place that has until now only existed in our wildest dreams. We sat atop for a brief moment, looking down on the world, the world we would soon return to, trying not to be phased by the single file line of impatient eagerness waiting directly behind.
And then we did it. We let go. We let go of our guilt, of our shame, of societal expectations, and our basic human dignity as we plunged to the bottom of the kiddy slides without a care in the world or knowledge of the teenage lifeguard waiting to catch us in the water below.
“I won!,” I screamed. Because I did.
It was clearly time to leave. Thoughts of our moppets were back with a vengeance as we made our walk of shame exit from the water, weaving in and out of frantic mothers (who I’m now certain hate us) and their hundreds of screaming offspring splashing haphazardly around with their godforsaken noodles waiting for their next unsuspecting victim to whip upside the head.
Not today asshole.
As we hopped on the guilt train with sun kissed cheeks to retrieve our most prized possessions, we began to wonder if we did the right thing. Are we terrible mothers? Our dear children must hate us for leaving them amongst strangers. Dear Lord, they’re probably in a corner sobbing uncontrollably this very minute! What kind of mothers would do such a thing? “We’re coming children!”
They didn’t want to leave. We got there and they didn’t want to leave. One actually hid from us and another one refused to don her shoes as she gave us the death stare from across the room. I’m pretty certain we wouldn’t have thought this 38 minutes ago, but she’s so darn cute when she’s mad.
They didn’t miss us. They didn’t want us. They didn’t need us. They were having fun without us. I wonder if they care what their peers would say? How dare they not want to be with us every single moment of every single day? How dare they enjoy a short break from our constant nagging, I mean company. We are their mothers! And more importantly, we could’ve stayed longer!
Don’t worry kids, we’re cool. Next time.