At the pool, I swim laps with little Abe in my belly. I love being in the water during these last weeks of pregnancy. I feel weightless. He’s still in there but not weighing me down. He’s lighter, I’m lighter, and in the water everything feels easier on my body and mind.
Mia swims up to me wearing goggles, the kind which cover her eyes and nose. They are so big on her tiny face. A slim band of forehead, her lips and delicate chin are all that’s left beyond the purple and yellow trim.
The goggles reflect our family’s Lakers pride. And I instantly miss my husband, who’s hard at work and still mourning Kobe’s retirement.
Mia plunges underwater and observes my belly like a creature in the sea. She pokes my belly button that sticks out, pointed and round, like a dolphin’s nose. She pops up laughing through the big gap in her mouth. And I lift her up through the water to give her toothless grin a kiss.
I love how easily I can hold her, like Abe. I miss holding my petite little girl. She’s sprite, like a pixie, thin and graceful. I pull her on my hip and later, she gently climbs upon my back. She’s been climbing on me since she first learned how. She usually climbs on me and sits on my shoulders as I sit on the couch.
The other night, I sat on the floor against the couch and Mia sat above me dangling her legs down the front of me. She played with my hair and pet my head. And I made of mental note of her age.
Every year, I wonder, is this the year she will stop? She’s still here, at seven years old, climbing on her Mama tree.
In the water, I can move about and play more freely. Alana and I toss a blue bouncy ball back and forth, palming the ball and hitting it with our fingertips. We play “bolly-ball.” The way she used to call it.
As we play, Alana splashes me in the face and the back of the head any chance she gets. She races through the water and jumps on me, just missing the belly. She’s rough. And I think, she’ll be a good playmate for her little brother.
When I step out of the water, I take large wide steps like a sumo wrestler approaching his opponent on the mat. In my head, I hear the giant’s words, “Fe, fi, fo, fum,” as I walk up the stairs and gravity reminds me of the extra weight I’m carrying.
My feet heavy on the ground, I walk slowly to the reclining pool chair and roll over on top of it like a beached whale.
“You look like a humpback whale.” Alana said. “But your hump is on the bottom.”
She swam beside me, patting the belly which hung below my frog-legged breast stroke.
At the pool, I write while the children are occupied, splashing, swimming and jumping about. I take out my journal and try to find a comfortable position to write in. It’s very difficult with my large hump. I have to hold the journal completely sideways, resting it along the side of my lower belly and curled up legs. I finally get comfortable after a few attempts to get it right. And as I write this down, the wind fights against me. The breeze flips through the pages, looking for a future that isn’t written yet.
As the wind travels to another land, I get comfortable once again, and continue to write about days like these: swimming with my children and managing the additional weight of motherhood.