Community pools offer more than swimming.
Back in the day, school never started until after Labor Day. But Prince George's County Public Schools started on Aug. 23 this year – two weeks earlier than in the good old days.
One thing that hasn't changed is that most community pools are still open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Since our daughter was five, our family has belonged to the Prince George's Community Pool in Mount Rainier, often referred to as the P.G. pool.
Now that our swimmer has swum away to college, we are still tied to the P.G. pool and are very grateful that we have a little bit of time left in the season to ease the transition. Of course there are a bunch of other families with their young adult off to the "next thing" so there is much commiseration. But there are also lots of adorable new babies, young families, grandparents and everything in between.
My remedy for weathering change ultimately revolves around community, and the P.G. pool's middle name is ... Community. Really.
There are numerous pool choices in our area. The pool you choose likely will be determined by where your kids' friends are found. We know Hyattsville families who belong to the Adelphi Pool as well as the P.G. pool.
Once you find your pool, and particularly if your kids are on the swim team, you will find the families with whom you will spend most summer evenings for the next decade. (Our daughter aged out this summer after 10 years with the pool's swim team, the Killer Whales – who had their best season ever. They were undefeated and division champions).
What is the impact of spending so much time at a pool? It means community parenting – no move your child will make at the pool will be unobserved.
"Oh, I saw your daughter sneezing up a storm tonight, I hope she doesn't have a cold!"
"Your son is suddenly taller than everyone this year! Is he taller than his father?"
It means communal food and lots of eyes, ears and hearts – the proverbial village, but not so proverbial. The kids your child is on the swim team with in the eight-and-unders will become teenagers who want to hang out with their friends. But that's ok, because you know where they are going, and you know the parents will be home.
And because it's all within walking distance, they aren't in a hurry to get their drivers licenses. It means when a family has a medical crisis, there will be food and support abounding. It means if someone forgets their goggles, someone else will offer a pair because they know how important that lap swim is.
The pool community is where we raised our child and found support for the transitions through elementary school, middle school, high school and now the young adult phase.
How about you? Where are your communities?