I was swimming along toward the shallow end of the pool when suddenly, he crashed into me. He was six or seven years old, given his missing front teeth, and the youngest of four siblings. His teen brothers were handsomely built, tall and athletic with remarkably long arms and legs, highly capable swimmers.The third-born sister was not far behind them, effortlessly employing snorkel, mask, and fins as she confidently plied the waters.
In a flurry of thrashing limbs and spluttering splashes, the youngest disentangled himself from me and settled himself back on his feet, all the while gasping for air. Recognizing the fact that he had thoroughly body slammed me, he cheerfully explained, “I can’t steer yet!”
I tried to hide my smile because I know for a fact that fourth-borns appreciate being taken seriously.
“You”ll get it figured out,” I said. “You’re almost there.”
“I know,” he replied with a sunny confidence.
I stifled another smile.
Then with a flip of his wet blonde head and a flash of red Hawaiian flowered swim trunks, he splashed back under the water and swam off.
And I headed back out to the deep end, grinning from ear to ear.