#176 24/7 stores

I can remember when the only thing open in the middle of the night was a sketchy gas station.  Which was fine if you needed an overpriced bottle of Mountain Dew.  Or gas.  But that’s about it.  I do not want to take for granted how great it is that you can go just about anywhere and find whatever you need at just about any hour.

Let me explain.

6 has never been a fan of water on his head.  Even as a baby, he would freak out when he had his hair washed.  Swimming has always been a challenge because of this.  I remember the first time he dunked his head all the way in the water.  It was swim class #37.  And it was on a bribe.  And he didn’t do it again for over a year.

To make matter worse, 4 has always been somewhat of a fish.  Last summer, when he was 3-turning-4, he was really on the brink of swimming.  In other words, with a little more encouragement he likely would have been doing it.  Only I was reluctant to offer the extra encouragement because it would mean that he would pass up his older brother.  And I have some issues with that that stem from my own childhood and involve me never learning to ride a bike.  But that’s another story.

So anyway, yesterday, it became apparent that 4 was swimming solo.  (And this is wonderful and happy but not what this post is about today.)  And I could have never predicted the impact this would have on 6.  He ended up ‘learning to swim’ himself.  Underwater.  Like, his whole head under the water and him swimming for real.  With his scuba mask on.  SWIMMING.  UNDER WATER.  I can’t emphasize how much of a big deal this is.  One day he won’t dunk his chin in.  The next he is surface diving to the bottom.  (And this is SO him, by the way. Potty trained himself and learned to talk in much the same fashion: abruptly and on his own terms.)

He was beside himself with pride.  And so eager to get back in the pool today.  Until we got there and realized we couldn’t find his scuba mask anywhere.  It was gone.  Likely left at the pool the night before.

Great worry and sadness ensued.

Then I went to the gift shop.  Where they happened to have ONE last pair of youth snorkel and mask sets.  Hallelujah.  Swiped that credit card and had the clerk open them up for me right then and there.  Delivered them to the little fish waiting by the side of the pool.  Watched as 4 was swimming all around like a crazy kid.  Gloated about how great life was on my way back inside to drop off our leftovers in the room.  Was gone for all of 6 minutes.  And left kids with Husband who was in pool with them.

Came back.  Saw Husband’s face.  Saw 6’s face.  Oh no.

Husband: “6 has lost his scuba mask.”

me: “What?  The new one?”

Husband: “Yes.”

Husband is growling and is very, very angry.  I look at 6 who looks like he is about to cry so hard he will need mouth to mouth.

I lean over and talk to him quietly and finally he tells me what he did not have the courage to tell his daddy.  Apparently he took the mask off for 3 seconds and put it on the side of the pool.  And was trying to get Husband’s attention who was bobbing under the water with 4 because he needed it adjusted.  And then a ‘little girl in a pink dress’ came over and took his mask.  He stood up and stared at her.  Her mom came over and asked if it was his mask.  He said yes.  She walked off with it anyway.

This makes no sense.  Unless you knew 6.  And then it makes perfect sense.  Because he’s a bit shy and has a very soft voice when he is nervous and frankly I can believe that pink dress’s mom didn’t hear him or was confused or whatever.  (Which still doesn’t explain why she allowed her daughter to run off with something that wasn’t hers.  But whatever. )

Another couple who was sitting by the steps confirmed the whole scene.

I cannot tell you how my heart was breaking.  How his heart was breaking.  We searched all over the pool area for the little hussy.  To no avail.  And do I need to remind you how the gift shop sold me the very last one?

So we get back to the room and put the kids down and I look at Husband and say, “You know he won’t get in tomorrow or go under without a mask.”

Husband was already reaching for his keys.

Because (and this is the part where I bring this back ’round to the topic at hand) there’s always somewhere open in the middle of the night that sells youth scuba masks.

There are two waiting for him on the kitchen table when he wakes up tomorrow.  And hopefully we will back in business.  Under the water.

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