Treading Water (2009)

Treading Water,
without a care in the world.
Sun warming my face,
waves lapping at my shoulders
creating rhythm through my body.
Arms and legs
building strength
moving in simultaneous determination.
Looking straight ahead
knowing full-well there will not be a lifeboat to find me.
Treading water
in perfect rhythm 
with no intention
of stopping.

Here I am. After months of pseudo surviving under icy water, I push myself up through the surface and take a deep breath of fresh air.

It’s the summer of 2009.

We are living in the ghetto of Burlington, Ontario (assuming Burlington has a ghetto) in a bug-infested townhouse that will someday bring back fond memories for Rain and Moxie (and maybe even me). I’ve been their sole caregiver for the past 9 months and it has taken me that time to move through my hypothermic shock and find my way to warmer waters.

And wow – is it warm!!

We have no air conditioning, just a Motley Crue of garage sale fans sporadically placed battling a ‘smokin in the boys room’ kinda heat wave.

But just like those fans, we’re finding our rhythm.

My days include driving the kids 20 minutes northwest to their babysitter in Waterdown then communing 50 minutes east to my Mississauga office. I work through each and every lunch break so I can leave early and get back to the west-end babysitter before she plops them at the end of her driveway at 5:15 sharp!

We’re doing it. But it’s hot and itchy and pretty damn uncomfortable. With my head now above sea-level, I search for solutions.

I decide to splurge on a Hamilton Conservation Authority park pass. At least 3 days/week, I add a bit of extra time to my morning routine so I can pack up our evening’s dinner. At 5:15 (sharp!) I drive us just a bit further west until we cross the finish line at Christie Lake Conservation Area.

And for the next hour we do nothing but run on the beach and splash in the water, pausing only briefly to nibble on sandwiches and veggies. Except for that one time when the seagulls beat us to them. (By the way if you ever want to scare away seagulls, try high pitched shrieks of laughter!)

We return to our hot and buggy home feeling calmer, cooler and somewhat more collected. We march like ants, one-by-one, up the stairs and they jump their sand encrusted bodies into the tub. We sing:

“This is the way we wash our ___ ”
pause for one of them to insert a body part to wash
“__when we have a bath.”

Clean and jammie-clad, they snuggle into their bed for a collection of stories and our favourite, somewhat adapted Raffi bedtime song,

“All bound for morning town, many miles away.”





Written as part of my Creating Memoirs course. The middle of my life story (so far).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s