Summer burst in without knocking first. Our rainy May turned into blazing May, ninety degree temperatures two days in a row. Originally, the weather forecasters said we’d have clouds and rain over the weekend, but glory be! They were wrong.
At 6:38 a.m., Grace woke me, asking if it were time to go to the “beach.” When she says “beach,” she actually means “pool.” She knew that today the pool would open.
Instead of getting up at 6:38 a.m., I slept in five minute increments, sometimes ten or twenty minutes increments. She woke me over and over again, asking for a drink or socks or a new video. And with much vexation, I’d do her bidding, then crawl back into bed. Then, just as I’d drift back to sleep, she’d appear at my bedside again. I didn’t get up until almost 9 a.m. and then, Grace raced me to the shower, stripping her clothes off and jumping in before I had a chance. She showered for twenty minutes while I cooled my heels, changed the sheets on the bed, put away clean laundry and puttered.
At noon, the kids were splashing in the pool, exulting in the eighty-degree heat. Grace sat for a long time on the edge of the wading pool before turning onto her tummy and sliding feet first into the water. I appreciate her slow, methodical approach to life. I’m like that myself in so many ways.
We stayed only until 1:30 p.m. Grace needed a nap. So did my husband.
After dinner, my husband went to the church to gather his materials for study. I took the four kids for a two mile walk. We are beginning our training regimen for our vacation in Walt Disney World. My boys are not in shape and I don’t want to hear them bellyaching about being tired in the Florida muggy heat. They only complained a little.
When my husband returned home (about 6:00 p.m.), I took the boys to the pool again. This time, less than twenty children frolicked in the aquamarine pool. My twins played a raucous game of water basketball. Zach jumped off the diving board time and time again. I read more of Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. Then my cell phone rang. A church woman was trying to reach my husband. I told her to call again and I turned off my phone so the call would ring at home. Then a bit later, I turned the phone back on, just in time to receive a phone call from my husband.
A church woman’s husband was rushed to the hospital. He has lung cancer and he wasn’t breathing.
Ten minutes later, we were in the car, heading home so my husband could go to the hospital. So much for his much-anticipated quiet evening of study at home. So much for staying at the pool until it closed at 8 p.m.
He called at 9:30 p.m. to tell me that the man had died. He finally returned home at 10:30 p.m.
Memorial Day weekend will never again be the same for that family.
I thought today how very small children have no concept of the future. They live here, today, not three months from now or next year. I need to stop staring off into the future and focus my eyes on my daughter’s curls as she prances in her ducky float in the swimming pool. Tomorrow is not promised. We have today.