It was warm when we got to the pool Friday. The sun was shining on the faces of my smiling, sunscreened babes. All the stuff we have to carry suddenly felt light when we walked through the gates. I saw it! They finished construction on the swim-up bar in the center of our neighborhood pool! Finally! I couldn’t wait to wade up there for a cocktail. Some other moms waved at me, drinks in hand while their kids splashed happily nearby. They had extra lifeguards patrolling both the shallow and deep ends since alcohol was now on the pool menu. Pool management had instituted the new “Baby Cabana” complete with certified babysitters in a shaded nursery by the pool for my baby. I knew I had stepped into the paradise I’d always dreamed of.
I was sipping. My 3-year-old was splashing. My baby was napping in the cabana. It was perfect. That’s when it happened.
I saw the fin first. It was bobbing and sliding between children on rafts. I thought it was another toy. It got closer before swirling at my feet as I sat perched on the underwater bar stool. I looked at one of the other moms, “Wait! Is the pool now saltwater?” She confirmed that it was. I saw another one, and one more by the deep end. “They let sharks in the pool?!” The bartender/lifeguard said, “What?! Those are only for swim team practices. You know, to make the kids swim faster. They aren’t supposed to be out!”
The whistle blew. “SHARKS!” I heard screaming. There was splashing. Kids and moms were scrambling as they desperately tried to escape the water. Cocktails flew as mothers grabbed tots. I saw a shark pop a child’s inflatable arm swimmy things. I looked for my daughter in desperation. I saw her flailing and crying just feet from me. That’s when one shark burst through the water gnashing its jaws. It’s teeth were just inches from my first born’s precious face. My motherly instinct kicked in, I grabbed the shark by its fin and jerked it backwards into the water. I scooped her up and jumped out of the pool.
What happened next, happened so fast it felt like a dream. As I comforted my little girl poolside, I saw another shark swirling. I knew from watching “Shark Week” that spinning behavior meant the shark was about to attack. It was right next to the Baby Cabana. I saw my son snoozing in the shaded cradles provided for the babies. I knew it was going to leap out of the water.
Still clutching my daughter I jumped. I scooped up my baby with my other arm and grabbed a pool float to block the beast’s mighty jaws. The toy exploded. My children cried. The shark fell back in the pool. It swirled again. I knew what that meant.
It exploded out of the water with even more force heading right for me and my precious little ones. The mother instinct went to a whole new level. It was a Molly Weasley-style protective reflex. I screamed, “NOT MY BABIES YOU BITCH!” I jumped and did a roundhouse kick through the air, smashing the side of the shark and knocking it back in the water. The impact of my fierce kick snapped the bone in my foot. I held my children tight as the shark swam away in defeat. We cried and kissed each other, grateful to be alive. The other mothers and children cheered my bravery.
Okay, so not a bit of that is true, but it’s way better than the real story. I had to come up with something better than what really happened.
I was loading the car Friday morning to go work out. I missed the last step and my foot twisted just the right way, breaking my fifth metatarsal. Yes, I was wearing tennis shoes. I’m now in a boot. I have leftover prescription Ibuprofen from the hospital after labor and delivery. I take that and ice it. I’ll see the orthopedic doctor later this week.
I’ve never broken a bone before. I always imagined a better story than what really happened, so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. “I broke my foot in a pool side bar brawl while protecting my children from a shark attack. If you think my foot is bad, you should see the shark!”
Disclaimer: Our pool is not saltwater, has no swim up bar and no Baby Cabana. A girl can dream. The sharks are a rumor.