I don’t remember exactly how long it had been since I last played in a pool with small children. It seems like it was maybe ten years or so but I’m not sure. I know it has been over twenty years since I played in a pool with my own children when they were small; over thirty years for some of them. But I do remember exactly how long it has been since I played in a pool with any of my grandchildren: four days, minus a couple of hours.
With the other kids having somewhere between five and fourteen hours to drive to their respective homes, Dan and Christie stayed around a while longer on Sunday morning, enjoying the leisure and the time at the place we’d rented in middle Tennessee. While Reese and Ann Marie played in the pool, I decided to join them. I figured it would be good therapy for my knees and most anything else that ailed me.
In a little while, I invited Reese to jump off my shoulders. “I’ll kneel down here and you hold my hands and climb up from the back, then you can jump off.” “Okay,” Reese responded, with a big grin on his face.
He climbed up and I said, “Okay, you can jump now,” but he kept holding my hands. I knew he was a good swimmer so I couldn’t understand why he didn’t jump. “Go ahead,” I urged him and finally he did jump… and did a forward flip in the process. Well, most of a forward flip.
As I stood up, I heard Christie call to me, “I think he was waiting for you to stand up; Dan always stands up with him and lets him jump.”
“Of course,” I thought to myself, suddenly remembering, “that’s how I always did it with Dan and the others after they were five or six years old. I stood up after they climbed up on my shoulders. Then they’d jump off.” Actually, they would usually jump as I was in the process of standing, using my momentum to increase theirs. I felt a surge of satisfaction, knowing that Dan had continued that small tradition from all those hours in the pool at Gower and at Wildcat Landing in Kentucky Lake.
I think our heavenly Father also takes pleasure in our continuing the traditions that he taught us, things like forgiving, showing compassion, being merciful, speaking truth. And above all, loving. I imagine Jesus smiles every time he sees one of us turn the other cheek, return good for evil or go the extra mile.
Reese comes back for another turn, I kneel and then rise up with him standing on my shoulders. He leaps toward the deep end, flipping over and into the water feet first. He surfaces, turns toward me. His grin is nearly as big as mine.