I took the kids this afternoon to open swim at a nearby school. Weird, I know, since it's prime-summertime and we live on a lake, but the weather has been iffy this week, and they wanted to practice their newly acquired swimming lessons skills. We entered the building together, and the kids went through their respective locker rooms to get to the pool, while I took a different route to the viewing area. I stood for a time, surveying the scene. I found the girls, but I could not find my boy. I looked for a really long time... and the pool was not very full... I could not find that boy.
There was a bit of panic-- Was there some problem and he was wandering then school, looking for me? Was he being held hostage in the locker room? Had he been kidnapped? WAS HE ON THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL? I scanned and scanned and scanned, in full lifeguard mode. I was weighing my options, whether I should call down to the girls or walk all the way around to the pool deck. I adjusted my glasses and went down that diving board lineup one more time.
Benjamin was there.
I had seen him a bunch of times, but he didn't register, because, truly, I didn't recognize him. I didn't remember which swim trunks he was wearing. Ben has obviously spent the summer growing, getting taller and filling out. He is 10 years old. He swaggers off the diving board and lazily crawls to the pool wall.
I found him.