When I was growing up my mom would often drag my brother and I outside on some type of adventure or another. She would find state fairs, festivals and craft shows for us to wander through. We would take hikes up to the top of Pleasent Valley, cross country ski through Canoe Meadows, and canoe on Onota Lake or Richmond Pond.
Most of these adventures started off with one or both of us grumbling or complaining. We didn't want to put down our books, or the controls to the Atari, or be stuck, god forbid, with each other. But mom never listened. She shoved us in the car, rolled down the windows and turned up Willie Nelson or John Denver or someone else who then hated, and of course now love.
I most fondly remember our adventures to the lake or pond. I loved our picnics, our canoe trips, our splashing in the water. We would dive and swim and play in the muck. We would lay on our backs and find animals in the clouds. We would stop bickering and, for a minute, enjoy each other.
I couldn't help but think of my mom today when I wasn't at a lake. I wasn't eating a picnic and there were no clouds to look at in the incredibly blue, hot sky. Instead, I was sitting in a baby pool, surrounded by a chain link fence, splashing with Addie. She traipsed across the pool confidently. She splish-splashed at Rylan. She giggled and laughed and kicked her legs and laid on her belly just barely keeping her head above water, but smiling.
I picked her up, put her on my lap, and bounced her and swished her while singing :
Down in the meadow in an itty bitty pool
Swam two little fishies and their mommy fishie too
Swim said the mommy fishie, swim if you can
And they swam and the swam right over the dam.
Addison screamed and giggled and clapped and said over and over:
Please, mama, fishie. Fishie, mama, PLEASE.
And while I didn't really want to sing it again, and my arms were really tired from finally working out, I sang and sang.
And I swished and bounced her, and she clapped and giggled and screamed.
And I remembered feeling that exact way on the shores of Onota Lake and Richmond Pond. I remember the cold water splashing up around us and hoping and wishing and begging for Mom to do it again. And even though, most of the time she was undoubtedly exhausted, and probably wanted to be sitting under a pine tree reading a magazine or dozing behind her sunglasses, she always bounced me and swished and threw me right over the dam. And I always giggled.