As a parent myself, I can now hear the memory of their stern warnings more clearly than when I was running to the weedy, rocky shore we called a beach, kid brother and sister in tow.
"Don't get your clothes wet." "The water is freezing." "You CANNOT go SWIMMING!"
I always yelled something like "I won't" over my shoulder, even as I unlaced my high tops and rolled my jeans above the knee. Every time, we ended up soaked. It was usually early spring, when my parents were doing the work of opening the cabin... probably Mother's Day. The beach towels weren't even unpacked, and yet there we were, three soaked, muddy, shivering little people. At least one of the littler ones was probably an unwilling recipient of splashy horseplay.
During the soggy, heat blasted ride home, I always assumed my parents had expected it. We had been to the lake; what other outcome could there be?
Today, during our first adventure day of 2009 (a late start I'm embarrassed to say), I was the parent that accompanied two eager little girls to the shore. We picnicked, played on swings and slides, and hiked in the woods a bit. Then, as promised, we walked along the beach.
Just long enough for the shoes to come off and toes to get wet. And knees. And a bit more.
I am honestly appalled that I didn't expect it. I didn't even pack a towel. The girls were delighted by every splash, every shovel full of soggy sand.... No one fell all the way in, luckily (mostly because I kept a hand on Elle the entire time). And they ran around chasing butterflies all the way back to the car, so they dried off.
A sunny, splashy 60 degree day at Long Lake, and my legacy of water lust continues. Fantastic! From now on, I'll try to to expect the predictable... NOT a simple, dry visit to the lake.
Off to enroll them in some swimming lessons.