"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ramblings of pools and poles

As a college student, I would walk across campus with a wave and a smile of hello for nearly every other person I'd pass, as I was familiarly acquainted with so many of them from classes, dorms, or social gatherings.

When I'd walk to class with my brother who was attending the same university, he'd laugh at the sheer numbers of people I'd know. I guess that's really what it means to be a people person and I guess that trait can be genetic.

Lately, we spend several days a week poolside.  It feels easier than letting my brain invent a hundred things to do (or have children do) in these final weeks. So I sit in my beached whale maternity suit, watching kids self entertain.

Without fail, every time we walk into that pool area, Christian has kids flocking to him.

Some of them he knows.  Some of them he doesn't.  But there's some sort of magnetism that finds him covered in boys and girls who want to play pool games or just sit on the grass and talk. It always leaves me shaking my head and questioning the draw, just as my brother did long ago.

Last week, a bigger boy, though not so big I could estimate his status, attached himself to Christian. I kept my eyes open because, though I know that by way of riding a middle/high school bus all year, Christian does have a "high school" following.  However, as his mother, I'm always wary of those bigger kids enamorment of my son.

In a quick private moment of grabbing snacks from my bag, I asked Christian if he knew the boy. I reminded him of his standards not always being the same as others ... and to be careful.

"I know, I KNOW, Mom," he said in teenage style, "I don't know him, but sometimes kids just gravitate and I can't do anything about it!"

I soon noticed the big boy hovering on the fringes of our encampment.  Keep your kids friends close and everyone else closer, was all I could think and so I smiled friendly and asked him his name to engage in revelatory conversation.

"I'm David!" he said.

"Hi David!" I returned as he took a chair next to mine, "Do you go to the high school?" I asked while Christian pulled up another chair.

"No, I graduated a couple of years ago."

I'm certain Christian could see my eyes widen behind my dark sunglasses because he shifted in his chair, sensing my disapproval of a 20 year old clinger.

I continued with the usual questions ... what are you doing for the summer, where are you going to college, why are you trying to click with my son ... (not that last one really, but it was hanging in my frontal lobe).

And he was a talker.

He took off talking all about college and majors. As Christian and I politely listened, he soon stopped rambling.

"Where do you want to go to college, Christian?" he asked ... and Christian named some of his future choices.

"What would you like to major in?" he returned ... and Christian said he wasn't really sure.

"What did you major in, Mrs. Linford?" the chatty boy asked.

"Well ... I majored in dance," I said, "Ballet to be specific but that was long before I had children." I looked down at my dome of a belly, repressing a snicker.

"Dance! I didn't even know you could major in that!" he said and then casually straight forward, "So ... do you do pole dancing??"

Crickets chirped in the silence to follow.

Christian's head sunk to his hands.

I must have stared a full sixty seconds letting his own serious regard to his question sink in.

"Dude!" Christian shot through his hands covered face, "Were you dropped on your head as a kid?!? Did you just say that to my mom ?? That's nothing LIKE ballet!!!"

And I swallowed harder than hard to fight down my tearful laughter.

And in definitive dismissal of David, I said, "It was nice to meet you."

And once he'd left, Christian apologized profusely to me in full embarrassment, admitting I was right about making good judgments.

And I continued to bask in the sun considering, if this motherhood thing doesn't work out, perhaps there's a future for me as an eight-month pregnant pole dancer.

And at the very least, it might further my own social skillz :)


  1. Oh my Marlowe, that's hilarious! My 8 year old has quite a social following too. He is not intimidated by kids of any age, and kids of any age are generally intrigued by him as well. Post high school though... that's a little odd. I recently told one of the young women at church that kids that have graduated from high school that spend a lot of time hanging out at the high school really, really ought to just move on. Don't want to knock anyone but um, time to grow up!

    Loved this post. ;)

  2. classic story. I would have died laughing!

  3. LOL!! Good job handling it Christian!!

  4. Ha! What a good lesson that Christian learned right in your presence! Really, it couldn't have been more perfect. I have to admit that I didn't know you could major in dance either....

  5. oh my goodness marlowe that is QUITE a story!!
    thanks for the laugh this morning.:)
    have a happy day

  6. oh that is SO funny Marlowe! the cricket comment and Christian's response - had me laughing out loud!! Luckily that friendship didn't last long :)

  7. Oh that is sooooooooooooo funny!

  8. SOOO FUNNY!! Are you sure he didn't mean the May Pole? :D