Summer is good and bad. The “good” is going to the beach, eating ice cream when it’s hot, swimming in the pool and playing outdoors. The “bad,” as an adult at least, is that it is long. Too long. Why is it too long? Because the kids are home. All the time. Every day. All day. That is a lot of kid.
But, I bide my time with them. I do work part-time, and there is always the allotted two-hour TV time they have so I can write or think or complain about them on the phone to a friend. Going to the pool club, however, has been one of the saving graces since it is enclosed, there are lifeguards, a play-ground and a snack-bar. The kids can prance all around the place, and I can try to either read or swim without keeping a constant eye on them.
Then there was yesterday. Yesterday we went to the pool for a couple of hours. My son, who slammed his toe in a door a few weeks ago, did not swim because his toenail on the big toe is ready to just fall off, and apparently he would like to preserve it as long as he can. My daughter, however, jumped right in as soon as we got there, throwing her flip-flops at my face. I still have a small bump on my chin as proof.
After an hour or so, I saw she found one of her friends from school in the pool, and they seemed to be playing nicely together. My son was on the playground, my little, wandering Jew looking for something to do, so it seemed like a great time for me to go in the pool to swim some laps. And so I did.
When I was finished, I swam up behind my daughter in the shallow end, putting my finger up to my lips since her friend was watching me, and tickled her belly to surprise her.
“Mom!” she screeched, “I knew it was you.”
“Okay. You girls having fun?” I asked as she turned towards me.
“Yup,” she replied and went under water.
“We’re playing a game,” the friend said.
“Oh good. What game are you playing”
“Awkward priest,” the friend replied.
“The what?” Of course I thought, I certainly, heard her wrong.
“The awkward priest,” she repeated.
“What kind of game is that?” I asked, totally appalled. If this girl was trying to shock me, then she did a hell of a job.
“Just a game. I have to be an awkward priest.” This sentence was so nonchalant in its tone, it made it seem almost okay.
“Does Nina even know what that means?” For sure my kid had no clue what the hell was going on. We are Jewish yes, and she knows what a priest is, but when presented with, “Hey, you wanna play Awkward Priest,” I was pretty sure she would be confused.
“I dunno,” her friend said with a shrug.
“Um, okay.” I immediately left the pool. I didn’t know what else to say. However, as soon as I got back to my chair, I texted my husband and asked if I should be worried that Nina was playing “awkward priest,” and his reply was, “Yes, yes you should!”
Later in the day, about fifteen minutes before we left, I asked Nina if she even knew what that game was her friend was playing. She shrugged and said she really wasn’t sure.
Today, when I asked her again, because damn it, I could not get past the weirdness of it, she said, “Awkward priest? I thought she said ‘awkward freak.’ It was boring anyway.”
“Awkward freak?” I repeated. Because yea, that was SO much better.
“Yea, I had to treat her like an awkward freak.”
“Are you sure? I could have sworn she said priest,” I thought I was I getting old, “so what did she do?”
“She just acted really weird.”
And that was the end of the conversation. I realized, awkward priest or awkward freak, both were weird, both would make a person act weird, and finally, I was the weirdest for carrying on about it.
Awk – ward!