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In the Vicinity

By Special to the Sentinel

Post by Randee Bergen

Being a teacher, I am free, on these summer days, to go and be and do (practically) whatever I want and I often find myself at the outdoor pool at Lincoln Park.

(Caption: Amy roves in the shallow end on a busy summer afternoon.)

I have my routine down. I wear my flip-flops and a trisuit and pack a small bag: towel, cap, goggles, water bottle, hat, book, phone, five bucks. The bike ride there, despite the 100 degree heat, is refreshing, the wind chill actually cooling me a bit as I pedal.

My swimming workout is routine, too, which isn’t good. I need to break out of it, surprise my muscles a bit. Egh, maybe I’ll change it up after the lazy days of summer are over.

As I get in, I notice a woman in the lane next to me, speaking with her two children as they dance on the hot cement at the edge of the pool. They look to be about five and seven. The older one says that they’re headed over to the diving board. I’m guessing they’ve jumped off it before; they appear confident and mom seems nonchalant. My knowing eye, however, detects her delight in the announcement.

I am reminded of the different stages of my own children’s evolution with swimming. Being dunked as babies. The day they first jumped off the edge and got back to the side on their own, my fingers just inches away, ready to give a nudge at the first sign of struggle.

(Caption: The day Amy learned that she could jump in and get back to the edge on her own.)

Participating on their first swim team, while I ran laps on the elevated track above, catching glimpses of them when possible. Doing what this mom is doing–remaining in the vicinity, watching, being available. Then it got to the point where I could drop them off at swim practice and return later or allow them to ride their bikes to the pool with their friends.

And now? Well, I’m not just here to get out of my muggy house and burn a few calories. I’m here because my girls–now 15 and 16 years old–are here, too. They’re lifeguards.

(Caption: Addy patrols the deep end.)

And like the mom next to me, I want to be in the vicinity. I, too, sometimes just stop my laps or put my book down and observe as they do their thing, thinking back, with satisfaction, on all the phases they’ve gone through to get to where they are now.

In the vicinity. It’s a good place to be on a hot summer afternoon.


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Yeah, Randee doesn’t look old enough to have a 16-Year-old. We get telling our boys that being a lifeguard would be a good summer job when they get older. Glad to know that they are well-protected when we go to the pool.

It IS a good summer job. So much responsibility - managing kids, managing parents, protecting lives, and cleaning. I like the cleaning part; it’s good for them.

And, just so you know, I was 30 when my first child was born.

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