Splash. Does reading the word splash conjure feelings of water hitting you in the face? Perhaps, it makes you think about the puddle you stepped in on the way to work today.
When I read splash these days, I think about swimming. For the last two years, I have spent more time at pools than I can estimate. The image of water leaping into the air after being summoned by multiple bare feet in six lanes comes to my troubled brain at the mention of a splash. My children swim with a local club.
How good is your memory? Researchers have yet to agree on the capacity of brains to remember important events.
My oldest is 11 now, and I don't remember her first bath or attempt to swim. But I know it happened in a small kitchen with black countertops at our former apartment on Chicago's Southside. On one of my external hard drives, I have pictures of her wrapped in one of those baby towels with a duck's yellow bill covering her hair.
Where did the time go? I used to hear that question, nod my head in agreement, and think of it as a filler in conversation. It helped the questioner continue the discussion without saying much.
As I turn 40 next week, I find myself searching for the whereabouts of time.
Life is change.
Not only do I have an eleven-year-old daughter, but two sons with almost inexhaustible energy greet me every day when I come home. They enjoy tossing the football, playing soccer, and running with me. At one point, we bathed them in a shared bath.
Can you imagine trying to get a nine, ten, and eleven-year-old in one bath at the same time? If my wife or I attempted that feat today, our children’s yelled objections would reach the windows of every Antiguan household.
Getting them to swim is the only way to see them together in a body of water. Communal baths are something from a distant past. Puberty is a near frightening future.
There are moments when I see their changing faces and long for the chaos of toddler years. They used to get into everything but warmed my heart with every sweet hug, kiss, and "daddy." Each video my sister sends me of her three-year-old pushes me into a state of nostalgia.
My children's unpredictable temperaments, strange questions, and spicy smells after swimming and other exercises pull me back into today’s reality.
If you’re a new father or have young children, let me tell you what the “old folk say to me.” Appreciate these days with your children. One day, you are struggling to bathe them, and before you know it, they are horrified by your mere presence outside of the door while they get dressed. - Well, that’s the current situation with my daughter.
I am grateful for the children’s swim lessons in Antigua. My youngest made the nation’s champion swim team. His older sister is determined to join him next year. The middle one is a competent swimmer also; he prefers soccer.
Halloween is this weekend. If you celebrate the annual holiday, do your thing. You can't dress up or down the importance of staying consistent in your children's lives.
If you're a new father and questioning how fast your children will mature. Go to the nearest sink, and splash your face with some water. That's almost as fast as time passes with little ones.
Make more meaningful memories today.