While all of the other moms dutifully rehearsed the "3 rules of swimming safety," I watched a colony of ants try to carry off a sticky ice cream wrapper. I was very happy.
My moment of R&R was interrupted first, by two boys who decided to play "hot potato" with a Nerf football inches from where I was sitting, and second, by the swim instructor's introduction of Mr. Freddy.
Freddy the Frog, I learned, is the official water safety puppet of the community pool. I hated him the moment that I laid eyes on him, mostly because I had a bad feeling that he was going make me dislodge my butt cheeks from my very comfortable lawn chair.
"Mr. Freddy wants ALL of the moms to practice rescuing their children from the pool," said the puppet. He was looking straight at me.
I reluctantly joined the herd of women and children at the pool's edge, where I was handed an empty milk jug attached to a rope. At first I turned down the gift because I thought that acceptance of it would require me to actually get into the pool, something that I swore at the beginning of the swim season never to do. A teenage swim instructor must have read my mind, because she assured me that I didn't have to get wet if I didn't want to. I could throw the milk jug to my kids (who were pretending to drown) from the side of the pool.
After three successful rescues, Mr. Freddy reappeared to praise me as an "involved" mother. I didn't actually hear the congratulations though, because by that point, I was half way back to the snack bar.