So we started the vacation with me taking Friday off. We would split the drive in two, and spend Friday night at the most excellent Holiday Inn in Wilkes-Barre. This hotel has, among other things, an adult and a kiddy swimming pool, and a TGIF, which is actually pretty good for a “mid range potato skins and big margarita complete with crazy crap on the walls” kind of restaurant.
So we take off around One. Innumerable stops later, we arrive in Wilkes-Barre in horrible time, a four hour drive telescoped to almost seven. But we land, and hit the pool. The kids love the water. Little fishies, they.
The temperature has dropped though, from in the eighties all day to about sixty five. After about ten minutes of swimming Anna gets cold and wants to head in. She goes upstairs with Kath and Sam, leaving me with PJ. PJ is shivering visibly and his teeth are chattering. You can literally hear his teeth knocking each other. I say, “PJ are you cold?”
“No” Is his reply, spit through chattering teeth.
We are playing in the wading pool, but he wants to go jump into the deep end. He saw Anna do it. He starts running over to the deep end of the big pool. I have to run over and jump in the pool. I am standing in four feet of water, in front of him. I say, “Ok, PJ, jump in, I’ll catch you.”
“No!” He says to me. “You go away!” He points at the other side of the pool.
PJ can’t swim. He’s two. If he jumped in he’d surely drown. But he wants me to go away. Its kind of funny. I try reasoning with him. “PJ, just let me catch you. You can jump in the water. Come on.”
“No. You go over there.” He says, punching each syllable with deliberation. He’s pointing at a tree over at the edge of the pool. He seems pretty clear on this, the same way he is sure he’s not cold. I think about all the various dangerous places I would jump off while growing up. There were many. The cliffs on Calves Pen, West Dollar Island, Vicar’s. The old swimming hole we called ‘Limestone’. The old rope swing at Luzerne. The last one, the bridge at Luzerne had a vicious undertow that would kill people, it was really dangerous. We’d swim there and laugh about it. When you're young you tend to underestimate your mortality. I guess we all got lucky.
So now my two year old wants to launch into an uncertain future already. You’re too young, I think to myself. Its too soon. PJ eventually let himself be led inside, but he was still insisted he wasn’t cold, and still he still wanted to jump into the deep end unassisted.