In effort to focus just a tiny bit more on me, I decided to join a water aerobics class at our local pool. In the past I've tried yoga but found I couldn't stop wondering what time it was. I tried Zumba but realized that while I thought I was a great dancer in college, when the lights are up and there's no bar, my "moves" don't seem to flow. And with a job, 3 sons under the age of 11, one husband, one father in law, one elderly dog and a new puppy, I have been unable to find an appropriate exercise class at 3am - the time I actually am free. So, 7pm Mondays seemed to work; I figured I'd feel invigorated enough afterwards to be ready for one my vice, Jack Bauer on 24. I'd feel so strong, so in shape, that even I could single-handedly save the world.
If I could focus......The first night of class I left my darling family at home. Upon arriving and scanning the class, I realized that I was the youngest participant by about 20 years. That's okay, I thought, it takes a village and these elders will pull me though, we'll work together. I'm in the pool no less than 10 minutes when out of the corner on my eye, I see Jimmy, my father in law, stroll in, pull up a lounge chair and sit directly in front of the class. He smiles and waves at me. The woman all turn and look at me, one sort of glaring at me. It takes me a minute and then all of a sudden it dawns on me and in a panic, I say, "That's my father in law! That's my father in law, My husband's dad! We live with him." What I acutally wanted to scream was, "That's NOT my husband." (not that there's anything wrong with being married to someone 30 years older than you.)
I get through the end of class, get out of the pool and walk over to Jimmy.
"What are you doing?" I ask.
"I just thought I'd come check out the pool and see what this class is all about?" he replies.
"Jimmy, I love you, but you can't come to the pool when I'm in class."
"Of course I can. I'm a member. I can go anywhere I want!" he retorts.
"You can come to the pool during this class only if you go to Tai Chi," I say.
"Oh, cut me to the quick! Are you going to hold that over my head?"
"Apparently I am."
Next Monday, I go to class. Again, ten minutes after it starts, Jimmy appears with the rest of the family, including my husband, the Coach.
"Oh dear Lord," I groan, while trying to stay afloat.
My four year old yells, out, "Hi mommy!"
The older two hop in the pool, swimming just close enough to me to whisper, "Good job, mom! Keep going! Work it, mom!!"
And my exercise classmates, now convinced that I am indeed married to someone closer to my age, turn to me and say, "Oh, you have such a supportive family, that's so lovely!"
"Yes, I am truly blessed," I say through gritted teeth, uncertain if it's because I can't stay afloat or I'm angry.
Class ends and my family actually applauds as I get out of the pool.
Coach says, "It's good for a family to exercise together."
"I'm the only one in the pool," I say, "The boys are sneaking around behind me and you and your father are ordering half smokes from the snack bar!"
"Well, we were inspecting the quality of food and I was just getting some cross-training insight for my team. It's all fine, Al. We're supporting each other."
In the words of Jack Bauer, "I'm out!" at least of the pool as it has now ended for the season; there'll be another episode of this family though; I know it's been renewed.