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Fourteen Miles of Twizzlers

We spent our first afternoon at the pool, which always makes me happy with the sheer exhaustion of it all. The scent of the sunscreen, the bag of snacks that we’ll share with all the kids around us. The realization that our beach towels have been lost in the last three seasons, and so today we are at the pool with bath towels. And there’s also the new swimsuit which gives me 28% more confidence at the pool and somehow that makes it okay that I spent 72% more for it.Bright Red Licorice Candy

I said the dumbest thing though. Perhaps the dumbest thing I’ve ever said at the pool before school is out for summer on a Tuesday night. I was doing that dance of sneaking into the water, as if by walking slowly and keeping my elbows up and my fists clenched, I can perhaps keep it from startling me with the temperature change.

A woman was sitting next to the pool, putting her feet in – which is actually what I had planned on doing until a certain 7-year-old of mind told me that his favorite thing of summer is when I join him in the pool, and he doesn’t really feel like I’m with him if I don’t get in the water, and anyway he doesn’t think I’ve been swimming even one time since his dad died.

Dude. You may not manipulate me. Even if it worked this time.

Anyway, this woman nearby complimented me on my swimsuit, and of course we were immediately best friends because that’s how it goes. One might say she met me in my hour of need. I bought it at Soft Surroundings, a store I wish I didn’t love because it’s all things Next Life Stage and yet I can’t get over how lovely and forgiving their clothes are.

Turns out, she has shopped there as well – in fact, her mom told her about it, even though she doesn’t have one where she lives. We gushed and raved to each other about the beauty and dignity of it all. I was looking for just the right words to describe my affection for their clothes. I said, “I just really feel like that place is made for…” (comfort? encouragement? joy and great tidings? what’s the word?) “… hugs.”

(In my mind I stepped outside of my myself to then look at myself with disdain. Seriously, Trish. Did you just say that place is made for hugs? Who are you? And do you need a bonnet?)

Somehow we moved past this point in the conversation, and I’m pretty sure it was only by her grace. She was probably thinking, “Let’s move on. I don’t want to make this any harder for you, and I’m a little concerned you might believe that I too am made for hugs – poolside, no less.” I can only hope that either I’ll never see her again, or that I’ll see her so often this summer that this one dumb thing will fade into the oblivion of great conversations.

In other news, I guesstimate that I will enjoy 14 miles of Twizzlers whilst sitting poolside this summer. I’ll do it all wish sheer rebellion while I disregard the concept of Pull¬†‘n Peel and instead bite all nine strands at once, all willy-nilly.

Also we discovered at the pool today that Tucker is taller than my mouth. I feel like I should take a moment to let that sink in, but I mostly just love the idea of him being a tall, gangly kid who can put his arm around my neck and call me Mom.

Welcome, summertime. I want to pull you right out of my canvas bag and spread your warm colors like a blanket for a picnic, but it seems you need no invitation from me. So let’s do this thing.

Pass the Twizzlers.

Tricia Lott Williford

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