Today I went swimming. Not an unusual occurance, in fact, I usually go once a week at my quiet, secluded, overly-expensive gym. I love swimming (apart from the odd incident of lane-rage) and wish I were better at it.

But today I had a child in tow. Yesterday, before I left town for the Shire, I had a text from my host suggesting I bring my swimming costume with me as Doris (7) usually went on a Saturday morning.
So, meeting an excited 7 year old fresh from an hour’s roller skating, I launched myself into an alien environment – that of being in loco parentis in quite a lot of water.
Fortunately, Doris’ swimsuit came equipped with flotation devices, so I was pretty sure she couldn’t drown in my care (and besides, that’s what lifeguards are there for, right?) but what I hadn’t realised was the level of power that I had suddenly acquired…
Saturday morning trips to the pool as a tween and teen were always somewhat traumatic. The combination of swimsuits that leave little to the imagination and hoards of teenage boys determined to wreek havoc in the water was simply something that had to be endured in order to swim – there was no alternative.
Today, the same teenage boys were there (ok, not the exact same ones – their descendants) getting in the way & generally being obnoxious. At one point they crashed into Doris and I fixed them with a glare; they backed off immediately and apologised.
That’s when I realised. Inside, I might be the same girl with insecurities about swimsuits and teenage boys that I had as a 14 year old, but on the outside I was a grown-up, with a small child in tow, and all of a sudden that meant that I deserved respect.
It was a stunning revelation and one that I ended up exploiting later on, when Doris decided that she fancied playing with a larger float than the one we’d acquired. Getting a bigger one was no problem at all and we had heaps of fun.
Suddenly I’m coming over all maternal…

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