Lately, I've been trying to figure out how I can be me, while still allowing Nathan to be Nathan. This particular problem comes up with other people, of course, but Nathan challenges me more than anyone else. It seems like we're often locked into battle, with my only choices being outright refusal to bend or going beyond my boundaries and just sucking it up. This inevitably ends up leaving one of us upset--and it's usually me.
Take, for example, the pool.
I hate it. I hate the water in my ears. I hate the little plastic plug thingies to keep the water out of my ears. I hate having to use goggles with my contacts. I hate getting water splashed on my glasses. I hate the fact that for the pool to be warm, it means that the outside temperature has got to be a lot higher. I hate sitting out in the sun. I hate puddles of water. And yes, I'll admit it, I hate putting this body of mine into a bathing suit and being exposed for all to see. Exposed so that I can do all this stuff that hate.
Now Nathan? LOVES it. He's not at all athletically inclined--except for swimming. He'd go to the pool every day, if he could. And once he's there, it's hard to get him to leave. Stays for three or four hours are not unusual.
In previous summers, his visits to the pool have been confined to weekends, when Mark could take him. But this year, I started thinking about it in April. It is so very hot here in the summer, and sometimes days go by without him playing outside. He doesn't like to go for walks, and he's not into biking, scooters or skateboards. All he likes to do in the summer is swim--especially since he took lessons over the winter and can now move like a fish in the water. The weekends are not enough for Nathan. It was beginning to look like I was going to have to suck it up.
But that's when I stopped and started to figure it out. I asked myself: How I can be pool hating me, while allowing pool loving Nathan to be Nathan? Does it have to be either/or? Can it work out for both of us?
I questioned Mark about the set up at the various pools Nathan likes to go to. Is there shade? Are there tables? Is it crowded? And I questioned Nathan. Does he have fun on his own? Do I need to actually get into the pool?
And you know what I found out? There are trees and umbrellas at all of the pools. If you get there early, it's not particularly crowded. There are always lifeguards on duty. Nathan is capable of having fun on his own, or with the other kids there. I don't actually have to get in the pool.
So today, we gave it a go. I took my writing bag, my Kindle and iPad. We got there right when it opened and were the first ones there--giving us first pick of all the tables and recliners. I chose a delightful shaded table, right between the baby pool and the regular pool. I spread out all my things around me, propped up my feet, and spent a delightful three hours. By the pool. Me.
And Nathan had a blast, too.