The scene: Outside a crowded wading pool.
The time of day: 2:15 pm
The culprit: Six-year old Gates
The crime: Public nudity
The witnesses: Many
The utterly humiliated: Me
I had it all planned out and it should have been so simple. All of our clothes were in separate little carry sacks. I handed Gates his sack and told him to go change in the boy’s restroom while I took Indy into the womens’ to help him change. Indy was upset and not cooperating well (I couldn’t blame him, he’d already slipped twice on the floor) so I didn’t really think about the passage of time. It did occur to me when I heard Gates hollering from outside the restroom that he’d changed unusually fast. But he was hollering something innocuous about the rules on the board saying no pool toys allowed, so I assumed all was normal and kept hollering back that I’d be right out.
Finally, changing accomplished I came out of the stall just as a mom with two little boys walked in. Now that I think of it, she was giving me a rather strange look. I assumed it was because of Gates’ hollering. We walked out of the restroom and standing there, COMPLETELY naked, was Gates. Can I just say, he has accomplished the after-swimming changing thing multiple times on his own with no problem? But today, “Mommy, I couldn’t find my clothes.” No, no, of course you couldn’t because they were only in that BAG that I just handed to you. Quickly I whipped a towel around him (did I mention he was standing outside, in full view of most of the park?) and dressed him underneath it. I waited for someone to come and kick us permanently off of all public pool property, but it seems we made a clean getaway.
As I walked (slunk) back to my car I passed a mother swinging her daughter on the swings. She smiled. “Having a bit of day, aren’t you?”
“Oh yeah, I think I will just hide my face in shame.”
“Don’t worry, I have two boys myself.”
That’s the kind of mother I want to be. The one who sees another parent’s most embarrassing moments and offers a sympathetic word. The one who offers a smile in the store when my children are running wild. The one who reminds me that we are all human, we all make mistakes, we all have our less than stellar moments and somehow we all live through them and come out with something beautiful on the other side.
Come to think of it, that’s the kind of Christian I want to be as well.