Today’s activity was swimming sports. My oft’ repeated response to her invitation for any school activity is ‘I’m sorry, I have work. I wish I could, but you can tell me all about it when you get home.’
Today, I made it. She hollered at me from across the playground, like she had been on lookout duty since dawn. She showed me around, introducing me to her new friends. I was proudly told that her swimming heat was named the ‘Dolphins’ and unlike killer whales, dolphins don’t eat people. We sat in the shade together and waited for her heats to begin.
While she was waiting to get in the pool, she made frequent eye contact. Smiled, waved. When she entered the water, with a splash better suited to a jetty bombing contest, I was the first person she scouted around for. Waiting for the ‘ready, set, go!’she was aware I was there. At the end of each race, she would turn around and grin.
After the swimming was over, with her togs wrapped up in her damp towel, she came to find me. Could I please stay with her for lunch? Her friends wanted to sit with me.
She chatted about everything, my work, how I am letting her take horse riding lessons, my travel dreams, and how beautiful I was. Me, the grumpy one who is never not rushing in the mornings, and was unnecessarily cross at her for leaving her lunchbox on the table after we had locked the front door. She was showing me off. She is proud of me.
This means more to me than anything else ever could.