The Pool of Love

Summer is here!  The string of photos from my friends with children have been of them playing in the pool.  It is officially summertime…acknowledged on my Facebook newsfeed with a stream of blue that comes through as I scroll down.

It brought back a memory I had when I was 9 years old.  We had recently moved from the city of Chicago out to a nearby suburb.  I didn’t really know any other kids as school hadn’t started and there were not a lot of kids on my block.  My Dad had signed us up at the local community pool and he had been the one taking me there since summer started.  One Saturday my Dad had to work.  It was one of those lazy hot days and I wanted to go to the pool.  My Dad wasn’t available so my only option was to ask my Mom.

I spent most of the morning begging her to take me.  She kept refusing giving no particular reason.  I couldn’t understand why…when we were just sitting at home.  I wanted to go so badly.  She finally gave in, I think, to shut me up.

I got to the pool and as a minor my Mom had to go into the pool area with me.  She sat on the bench next to the pool while I swam and played.  I remember feeling guilty for begging her and I kept looking back at her on the bench.  She wasn’t watching me.  Every time I looked back at the bench she was looking in another direction away from me.  Her face clearly showing she didn’t want to be here.  I asked her to come in with me but she just turned and grunted ‘No’.

The only time she turned to look at me is when I told her I wanted to go home.  That was the first, only and last time my Mom ever took me to the pool.

It is sad to think about this memory but I am mostly sad because I never realized how loving my Dad was.  He took me to the pool and got into the pool with me to play.  He took me places when my Mom didn’t.  We were both abused by her and until recently I hadn’t realized that.  He was trying to survive too.


2 thoughts on “The Pool of Love

  1. hi. i feel like everybody has a pool story. everybody with lousy parents anyway. pools seem to bring out bad parenting and become extreme points of contention. i read on another blog recently a story about witnessing a kid get thrown into the water at the beach by his father against all his cries of protest. the kid living in the house i’m staying at has ‘pool issues’ too. his mom criticizes him for crying and being scared of the pool and ‘not being able to handle the pool’ and she takes him into the kiddie pool and forces him to sit down and holds him down even though he’s crying and scared and then he looks absolutely miserable. so yeah, gee, i wonder why he doesn’t like the pool.
    i have one bad pool memory too. i remember taking lessons when i was little, and then one day, they moved the lessons to another school. they used to be at my local high school and then we had to drive to some random unfamiliar school to some other pool. and when i got there, i was late. and my instructor was in the water with some other kids. and i suddenly felt very unsure, embarrassed, self conscious and scared. i didn’t want to get in. my mom made me get in, like ‘WHAT ARE YOU, SHY?’. and then when I was in, i wanted to get out. I remember clinging to the side of the pool, looking up at her standing there, looming down at me, with her face all frowning and twisted with anger. she was like, “what are you scared of? what are you, shy? no, you’re not getting out of the pool.” and I felt scared and rejected, and on top of that now, stupid for feeling scared and feeling worthless because my desires and needs had just been treated as if they were worthless. and mostly, i WANTED to get out of the pool, but i COULDNT.
    i was also scared of my mom’s sudden twisted face. it wasn’t one that i saw that often but thats why it terrified me. like, what brought out this woman? like, that’s the line i don’t want to cross! like, that’s why i’m terrified of her! like…she was using force. she was using force and anger. she was making me. what an ugly thing.


    • Hi there, Thank you for sharing and I am so sorry to hear about your mother’s behavior…there is a lot of support and shared stories in our community. It is hard to hear these stories today…especially since there may be more behind going on with that child at home. After we have gone through it with your mother’s it is so disturbing to witness it. Thanks for sharing.



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