I still remember my little backyard kiddie pool. I'm guessing I had more than one, as this photo shows a square Raggedy Ann pool but I seem to remember a round one with a generic fish pattern on it -- though the designs always faded to nothing by midsummer -- but I remember dragging the hard plastic shells from their spot propped up against the side of our house to the flattest section of our yard. I remember they used to leave wet spots against the brown paint until we had aluminum siding installed. I remember how cold the hose water would be at first, and then how it would slowly warm up to bathwater temperatures as the hours passed.
I remember the disappointment of having to get out of the water -- even though my lips were blue and my nose was running and my eyelids were heavy -- but the disappointment was always tempered by the feeling of a dry towel, fresh clothes, the slow feeling of warmth returning.
I remember licking peanut butter off my pruny fingers, dripping watermelon down my front, using the towel to erase a milk mustache while staring out the window, contemplating the pool and how badly I wished to be back in it.
I remember smelling of sunscreen afterward, and my hair drying in crazy directions because I wouldn't let my mother comb it out, preferring to howl in misery at bathtime, because while I loved the pool, I still hated the bathtub.
I didn't even realize I remembered all this. I never thought about it, until today, while drying Ezra off with a gigantic towel, while watching Noah conquer invisible fires with the garden hose.
I used to assume that I would be a better parent than my own, that my children would have a much easier life than I did, that I would naturally correct all the many mistakes and injustices and teenage-fury-inducing moments. I don't really remember those either, but at one time they seemed so very, very important.
I hope they remember the pool.