I saw them last week. It was evening, not morning, and I had been swimming laps for about 10 minutes when they entered the pool area. It was just their mom with them, and so I wasn’t actually sure it was them… the boys have grown so tall. Not yet at the gangly pre-teen stage, they moved with the grace of youth and their voices were still slightly shrill in their excitement as they threw a water football back and forth to each other.
Their ball got in my path 3 or 4 times, a missed pass here and there. I smilingly tossed it to them as I swam past it to let them know it was OK, but they still apologized to me.
They were high energy, as I remembered them to be. The younger one still seems to have that impish mischief that is inherent to him. Just moments before I got out of the pool to shower, their mom joined them in their game in the pool. I managed to get her attention when I was leaving the pool and confirmed that they were who I thought they were by inquiring if her husband has red hair. She gave me an odd half smile and paused before answering in the affirmative… her reaction gave me the feeling there was a “story” there, like maybe they’re not together anymore? I acted like I didn’t notice and just told her that, from one mom to another, I was impressed with her boys… that they played well together.
As most people are, she was reluctant to accept the compliment without a qualifier, and she said, “Oh, they’re not always this way.” I just smiled and said with a shrug, “They’re kids…” and left it at that.
I was surprised to realize that I actually enjoyed seeing them again. Knowing that they are OK. Growing up, as children do. I hope I gave their mom some encouragement. If nothing else, I know she had a smile on her face for that moment.