The Joy of a Pampered Life…and other myths about resorts

As the children have started swimming lessons, we now are the proud card holders of a two-month membership at the local Rodd Mill River Resort Aquaplex and Squash Courts.  We have the card for two months, and I plan on making the aquaplex our second home.  The kids commented today, while we were home eating lunch together on an Easter Monday, that we can now go to the Rodd for free.

Well, not actually, kiddos- that’s why Mommy works a day job.  To pay for swimming lessons for four.  Which, by the way, cost close to three hundred and fifty dollars because we have to have the membership to get the swimming lessons at this particular resort.   I am planning on moving my essentials over starting this Thursday while the second swimming lesson is underway.  That will be the only point in time over the coming week in which my kids will all be in the watchful care of their new babysitter, er, I mean lifeguard, who will be closely attending to them while I unpack.   I look at my membership fees as the equivalent of one month’s rent.  Squatter’s rights to the second month.

We tell the kiddos that we are going to the pool after supper, and it seems a spell has been cast.  It is as if a magician has waved a wand and obedience dust has been gently sprinkled over their perky, little noses.  All day, we have nary an unkind word or moment of complaint.  Love prevails.  Temper tantrums cease.   Okay, I am exaggerating about this last one: nobody in a household of six really has it that good.  But it is better than normal around here for most of the day.  My husband and I look at each other at various points throughout the morning and afternoon and give each other the raised eyebrow- an unspoken signal that allows you to say the unspeakable.  We salute one another with a high-five when we accomplish the unthinkable: that is, we manage to get all four children working simultaneously at various jobs around the house on projects that might have only gotten off the ground when pigs fly.

Can this day really be happening?  Or, am I watching an early episode of 19 Kids and Counting?

Since the day has been such a roaring good time, we are more than willing to take the family for a nice “top-off-the-weekend” swim before retiring to bed for the night.  What could be better than a nice swim, a relaxing drive home and then a gentle tuck-in and cozy hug to finish the day?

Just about anything would be nicer, actually.

For starters, the pool is freezing.  I mean, something has to be broken in the plumbing department tonight.  And they call this a resort?   However, I am a Canadian girl, so I make it work.  I find the one warm spot in the shallow end, but let’s just say that two little girls have already been laughing about how they always pee in the pool.  As if this was a secret.

Exactly.

We swim, we freeze.  Double whammy.  And, since the hot tub is also not working, I do my best to stay warm in the pool, treading water when necessary and doing various acrobatics to maintain body heat.  Meanwhile, husband mentions he might take a little break in the sauna.  I am now on duty with four little swimmers while he sweats it out in the warmest place in the resort: the sauna.  After about a half an hour, I notice that my husband has not returned to the pool.  I say to my sister-in-law, “He is going to lose five pounds if he doesn’t soon get out of there.”   My youngest, having overheard this comment, abruptly turns and looks at me with genuine worry in her eyes.

“Do you mean he’s going to melt in there?”

After having rescued my melting Easter Bunny from the oven in which he has been slow roasting, we proceed to leave the cold pool area for the even colder shower and changing room.  My three girls and I huddle in one shower stall and wait for five, solid minutes for the scalding hot water to gradually return to a steady stream of warm water.  As I am the mother, I am the last to get out and dress myself.  This night has not really gone exactly as planned, but at the very least, the kids are still in good humor.  With my rose colored glasses retrieved and sitting on the brim of my nose, I can also try to see this whole experience as cup half full.

Right?

Wrong.  The minute we step foot in the van, everything completely falls apart.  The kids start fighting, and before we have made it into our driveway, the oldest has lost video games for two days.  The youngest, not to be outdone, has also lost video games for one day, and she is still crying as we proceed into the house and edge our way toward the staircase leading to her bedroom.

Are you kidding me?

I am flabbergasted.  And quite ready to revoke the kid’s memberships to the pool so I can instead buy myself a makeover package from the local beauty salon instead. Or a big bottle of Asprin, at the very least.

Spa life ain’t all she was cracked up to be.

The joy of this moment..this one RIGHT NOW

I use to live for a night out.  I say live for, but if that were really true, I’d be dead by now.  I don’t get out much.   I can faintly remember a time in my life where Friday night was associated with socializing and getting out of the house.  I won’t say what other images come to mind, let’s leave well enough alone, but I will say that those days of yore have gone the way of the ill-fated Canadian penny.

I now defend the practice of a night spent staying in, as it is far more in tune to the constraints of my current lifestyle and budget.  And if you can’t  go to the party, you might as well make it happen right where you’re at.   Inside the four walls of home sweet home.  With your own little family.

I am sitting on the piano bench in our living room.   The kiddos are settled in, under blankets and surrounded by pillows, on various couches and chairs.  Hubby has the recliner.  On the television are home movies, most of which were taped by my husband while I stood, with my post-pregnancy butt turned to the screen, tending to children.  Not an entirely flattering view of my assets.  In other scenes, I am breastfeeding and in still others, I am trying to keep a new born from drowning in our kitchen sink while I repetitively wipe at her delicate parts with a washcloth.  Ouch, poor thing.  What kind of delusional woman was I back then…but enough about me.   The children are glued to the images of themselves as babies and toddlers.  We even popped Orville’s special  corn in the microwave, and divided it out.  You would think it was Oscar night in Hollywood.

We started with a home movie of life in 2007, as all of our children were in existence and nobody would feel left out.  The youngest of our four had just been born, and the other children were 2, 4 and 6.  The movies showed our children’s performances in ice skating shows, birthday parties as well as snapshots of our family just having fun around our home.  In one vignette, our oldest and next in line are sweetly reading together, until he snaps and a fight breaks out.  Good times.

And yet.  Life seemed so much sweeter back in the day.

I am nostalgic, but then I remember.  I am in this right now.  I am living it out.  I am here, and present with my sweet family and were someone to tape a snapshot of life at this very moment, it would seem as sweet and precious as life seemed to be those few short  years ago.

So then.  This is the best moment of all, the one we are living in the present.

I join my daughter on the couch, and snuggle close to her under the blanket draped over her seven-year old frame.  She smells like the pool, where we were prior to home movie night, and I move in close to hold her.  I want to remember her just like this.  My little girl, so innocent and precious, is still that darling two year old that prances in pink tutu across the screen.

I’m not going to wish for moments I cannot have.  I’m going to live for moments that I can hold right now.  They are fleeting, and I do not want them quite yet to become a memory.