Ah, the things we do for our kids.
“Oh, I’m never going to be a minivan mom. Talk about NerdVille! Give me the Deluxe SUV any day. I’d rather sacrifice cash than coolness.”
Ten years later: (Pulls around school pickup line in Dodge Grand Caravan with stick figure window cling. Rolls down window as “oldies” [turn-of-the-21st-century tunes] blast from the speakers.) “Hey! Yoohoo, Honey! It’s me! Mom! Stop trying to avoid contact, I am your MOTHER!”
“Oh, I’m never going to wear a fanny pack. Didn’t any of the ‘90s kids get the memo the first time around? Haha, they look so silly. Even the name makes me giggle!”
Ten years later: “OK, Buddy, I know you’re tired since we’ve been in SnoopyTown all day, so I’m happy to carry you, but why don’t you eat this squeezable fruit pouch I’ve been carrying in my fanny pack? You’ll feel better.”
And, most recently, Exhibit C:
“Oh, we’re never going to have a pool worth more than three days’ worth of groceries in the yard. They’re ugly, take up too much space, cost too much money and you can just go to the community pool and get more bang for your buck. No, thank you.”
Five years later, one pandemic and five 85-degree days later: “FINE. The community pool is open three days a week for two hours a day and both of the lifeguards missed the pilot episode of Original Baywatch for their kids’ high school graduations. This section of the yard is weedy anyway, we don’t need it. This pool is on sale for a week’s worth of groceries…2019 groceries! We have nothing to lose except a week’s worth of groceries, and fortunately I’ve been stockpiling canned beans since March of 2020!”
After scrolling through countless Amazon reviews and walking pensively through the backyard with a tape measure to make sure a pool would, indeed, fit, we found ourselves one Sunday afternoon with a yard full of poles, a hefty blue piece of plastic and some less-than-detailed instructions that would, when put together, send us on our way to poolfully wedded (wetted?) bliss.
We eventually got there. It was an immediate hit with the kids, who may have been expecting something larger but were happy to settle for Not a Baby Pool.
It’s true, the part of me that cares too much about aesthetics is dead inside. Earlier this week I saw someone describe this phenomenon as “Champagne taste on a beer budget.” I can relate in a very real way as wipe some drool off the pages of my Architectural Digest, open to a photo spread of Sally Celebrity’s ‘Luxury Escape in the Maldives,’ then glance up at the blue vinyl monstrosity now occupying one sixth of my backyard and wonder if I shouldn’t have gone to medical school.
But then — then! — Tiny comes out the back door wearing her flamingo swimsuit and pink goggles and tells me that she’s ready to go swimming, and it occurs to me that it doesn’t matter to HER whether she’s on a secluded beach on a private island or splashing around in a glorified puddle. It’s hot and she’s having fun.
Even Bookworm, who is traveling at breakneck speed toward her teens, can appreciate that this miniature piece of paradise is big enough for her to lay on a floatie that doesn’t drag on the pool bottom. When her friends ask how she got to be such a perfect shade of bronze, she needs only to say, “Oh, just lounging by the pool.” No one ever asks the SIZE of the pool, do they?
So here we are. The proud owners of 900 gallons of paradise in the form of a 10-by-7 rectangle. Sure, it’s not the prettiest thing in the world. I give it a few summers, which is longer than any of our previous inflatable models have held up. The tarp that I use for a cover, attached to the ground with bungee cords and tent stakes, adds just the right amount of charm. When the weeds start growing around the edges, we’ll really be in business.
Ah, the things we do for our kids.
Abbey Roy is a mom of three girls who make every day an adventure. She writes to maintain her sanity. You can probably reach her at email@example.com, but responses are structured around bedtimes and weekends.
This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: Abbey's Road: A tale of pool-ing resources