It's 94 degrees, smack dab in the middle of hot, sticky summer in the Mid-Atlantic. I just arrived at the pool. Blue water, splashing, laughter. The epitome of summer and where I've been spending my every day 5-9. My son is at my side, mommy, mommy, mommy. He's not swimming solo yet and so we are attached at the pool; my petite little shadow. But before we get in I need to find his sister, dropped off an hour before for practice. They are 22 months apart, but at times it feels like 5 years.
First attempt to locate her is the vision scan: beach area, slide, diving well, swings. Nope. A tiny note of concern rises in my chest. Just a niggle. Next attempt, take a walk. This upsets my shadow. No mommy, I want to get in NOW. We walk, him begrudgingly with his signature scowl. We circle and circle. There are so many brunettes, but not mine. It's been 10 minutes since I arrived. The niggle grows. The wave in my chest, the spot from which all my anxiety grows, is more urgent. My shadow has gone from being irked to full tears while tugging at my hand, my bag, my dress. Where IS she?
Third attempt, snack bar. Maybe I can give my shadow a snack while going back to the vision scan from a new vantage point. I haul my overstuffed bag onto the bench. Digging through goggles, sunscreen, loose change for the granola bar I think I stuffed in there last week. A gaggle of girls passes by, I glance up and THERE SHE IS! Oh thank goodness, I've been looking all over for you! She glances at me, barely, and our eyes meet for a split second. She tilts her chin up a little bit and keeps walking, perfectly in step with the other girls. My shadow and I are left watching the backs of their long, tanned legs.