The Coconut Chronicles and the Great Pool Caper

After years of the blow up kiddie pools turned mosquito resorts on our back deck, we decided this year to upgrade and buy one of those large above ground jobbers.  Not the ginormous, build a deck around and invite the school basketball team for a swim size but large enough that it came with a pump and cover.  The Coconuts were over the moon excited about it.

We brought it home on a Sunday and tortured them for 4 more days because, impulsive people that we were, we didn’t have three consecutive  hours during a normal week to put the blasted thing up. Additionally, we had to find or create a level spot in our back yard first.  Did I mention you could probably get in some good down hill skiing in our back yard?  Between the grade and the constant soil erosion from the tsunami that comes through every time it rains, it would take a tractor to get it level.   But after days of guilt, sad eyes, and incessant questioning of our parenting skills, my hubby sucked it up, pulled out a dirt rake and began to at least attempt to level an area.  After about 30 minutes with said rake, level, and TLAR method (That Looks About Right) he declared it so and announced we were ready for the set up.  I suspect it had more to do with the blisters forming on his hands from trying to push around the dirt that was as hard as concrete but whatever!  I couldn’t stand any more sad eyes from our children.

After dumping out all the pieces and parts, I felt my resolve start to waiver.  Until that is, I looked up on the deck to see all three  Coconuts dressed in their swimsuits, complete with goggles and bath toys.  I knew retreat was not an option at this point and that they would probably not allow us back into the house unless we got this done.  So onward we marched.

My husband opened up the pathetic excuse for directions and read, “plan to have 3 people present for pool assembly.” We knew we were in for it.  The directions looked as though they were written by someone with a PHD who was not used to giving instructions to those of us with only normal intelligence.  The illustrations came off of a cave wall somewhere, I am sure.  Thankfully the hubby has an uncanny ability to look at 5000 pieces and parts and visualize where they are supposed to go.  We did, at one point, break out the hammer, although it was not listed as one of the tools necessary for this project.

Things were going along very smoothly considering we were trying to put together something from Wal-Mart with 3 Coconuts repeatedly asking if we were “almost done”.  That is until the sun started to go down and we suddenly were swarmed by millions of blood sucking creatures.  Ah yes, central Texas in the summer.  Hubby ran for the repellant as I uselessly began swatting and flailing body parts.  So now covered in sweat, bug spray, and dead mosquitos we had smashed into our skin, we pressed onward.  I am certain we looked like something out of a war zone.  My eyes stung from sweat and I was filthy.  I had smashed a finger, stubbed a toe, had to repent several times over due to the curses to Sam Walton and all of his family members that rose up on my tongue…but we finished it!!!  It was standing and looked fairly level and stable.  I grabbed the instructions to see what was next.

“Fill bottom with approx. 1 inch of water.  Turn off water and smooth out wrinkles in bottom liner.”  Said the instructions.  Simple right?  We were about to find out how uneven our little lagoon was.  I jumped into the pool to start the process.  I started by trying to smooth out the bottom of the pool with my feet.  Quickly realizing that was getting me no where fast I got down on my hands and knees to push out the wrinkles.  I soon discovered that what I was doing was the equivalent of bench pressing dead weight while doing squats.  Did I mention that I don’t go to the gym?  Additionally one side of the pool was becoming deep enough for possibly a good cannon ball while the other was sadly, dry.   The bottom of the pool was slippery and several times my hands and knees slipped and I would land face and stomach down in the water.  Did I mention I was fully clothed?  I’ll admit, I was ready to storm into the house never to return to the backyard again.  Looking up on the deck, however, I saw Coconut #1 giving water safety instructions to the younger two.  Complete with “What It Looks Like When You Are Drowning” actions.  How could I disappoint them?

So we did it!  I managed to somehow get the bottom smooth…yes it is slightly unlevel but we tell the kids it has a deep end and a shallow end.  Yes it was a battle but we emerged victorious, albeit eaten up by bugs.  Was it worth it??  Your darn tooting it was worth it!  Every joyful shriek, splash, peal of laughter that comes from the back yard is my repayment.  Not to mention every phone call I make in peace now is worth feeling like I’d spent the day before with a personal trainer Nazi.  And most of all nothing beats just splashing around with the Coconuts on a hot day as they try to drown each other and me.

Ok…I’m off to check and make sure my children haven’t turned into prunes or tried to see if the cat can swim.IMG_20130624_183310_006

The Journey Begins…

3 coconuts on front porch P1020551

I wasn’t one of these women who was born to be a mother.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like kids…I liked them.  I was just pretty consumed with establishing my career, broadening my horizons with travel, educating myself with classes.  In other words, I was selfish.  Kids were always a thought for MUCH later down the road.  I didn’t really know how much later down the road, just later.  That all changed one August morning as I stared at a positive test result and contemplated either running down the stairs screaming or passing out.  Thankfully I didn’t choose anything quite so dramatic.  Instead I threw myself across the bed sobbing.

The Fallout!

The next few days were a blur.  My husband took it much more calmly than me.  I think he was shell-shocked.  I, on the other extreme, kept thinking about the fact that we’d been married less than a year.  We’d just bought our first house that took the term, “fixer-upper to a whole new level.  I couldn’t keep house plants alive and the animals that lived with us barely survived by eating the crumbs off the floor.  Since I was fairly certain that would not be an acceptable practice for a newborn I was in a panic.  How did this happen? (For the record, yes, I do know where babies come from) The hits just kept on coming when I realized the kid was due 5 weeks from insanity.  Translated that means the baby was due splat dab in midst of my annual dance recital at the studio I owned.  I was a train wreck of emotions and each fear that tiptoed through my mind would cause me double the guilt.  I mean, everyone was ecstatic for us.  Here I was anything but happy.  Much later I discovered something that I wish I would have learned early on in those scary days and that is simply this.  Many women have felt exactly as I did.  And it’s ok to have fears and worries.  It’s even ok to not want to be pregnant because of those fears (unfounded or real).  But what happens is, instead of creating an atmosphere where women in those situations feel comfortable about sharing their feelings, an environment of guilt exists.  Many women just get through it by keeping their mouths shut and working through it the best they can.  Luckily for me, I’ve never learned when to keep my mouth shut so I called up my mom one day and poured out my guts to her.  You know what that woman said to me?? “Old girl, you know this baby is only coming out of you one way right?  I wouldn’t worry so much looking that far down the road.  You’ve got to get past the ring of fire first.”  She was so wise.

The Reality:

I did start focusing on the here and now and day by day I felt my excitement growing with my belly.  I was a fairly new Christian and as I look back now I see how the Lord used that time of uncertainty and fear to continue to draw me close to Him.  To teach me to lean on Him.  I am happy to say that after making me wait an additional 2 weeks, our precious Coconut #1 was born naturally and without complications at a birthing center.  In one magical moment, God let me feel what it’s like to create a miracle.  As soon as they laid her on my chest, so warm and alive, any and all fears dissipated like a mist.  At least for that moment in time.  I did, however, have to give my mother a piece of my mind.  I politely informed her that I did not know anything about her “ring of fire”.  What I had experienced was more like the “Blowtorch of the Birthing Inferno” but I digress.  It was worth it.

As a matter of fact it was so worth it and God, in His sovereignty, gave me childbirth amnesia so we went ahead and had two more.  These two were born at home.  And so now we were blessed with not one but three offspring of our very own.  Suddenly the woman I had been was replaced by someone new.  Someone who had exchanged tiny, cute purses for over flowing diaper bags.  Someone who smelled often of sour milk and needing a shower.  Someone who once used to stay out all night now stayed up all night to walk the floors with fussy babies…and loved it.  And someone who used to be able to carry on witty and thought provoking conversation (or so I thought) and now found herself discussing diaper rashes, nipple cream, and engorgement issues.  And that was alright by me.  These tiny creatures consumed me.  They mesmerized me.  I was hooked.  Yet the greatest joy of all came when they started talking.  Their constant chatter brings sunshine to my days.  My life was forever changed by the ones who have come to be called “The Coconuts”.

Our life with Coconuts is now 8 years in the making,  but every day they still make me laugh and amaze me with the things they do and say.  So this is dedicated to them.  My hope is one day they’ll read some of these posts and have some small idea of how much space they occupy in my heart.  Perhaps they’ll know that although I may not have been the most perfect mother, I love them with all that I am.