We hop in the car and head off to the Goldfish Swimming School!
We have the swim bag, the swimmer, the address, and the enthusiasm of proud grandparents.
We walk into the pseudo tropical paradise: fake palm trees, painted turtles and whales on the walls, and little coconut huts for changing. Even a blow-drying bar for the wet-heads.
The object of our affections and attentions climbs out of his shorts, shirts and shoes, receives his lane assignment with timidity, and moves bravely towards the deep blue, or in this case the four foot deep pool.
Grandma and Grandpa and the other thirty-something-aged parents wait behind the glass enclosure or the "shark tank."
After the little guy swims his laps or puts his head under water, he paddles to the side of the pool, pulls off his goggles, and looks straight at us for approval. We, and the parents, are trained better than Sea World dolphins--when our posterity looks up, we clap, we over-animate our smiles, and we give exuberant thumbs up!
His first glance at grandma and grandpa, is a blank stare.
"He thinks we're ridiculous," I say.
Tony laughs at the almost 100% possibility of this being true.
As ridiculous as he may think we are and actually may be, every time he returns to the side of the pool, he looks straight to those ridiculous grandparents for that repeated and guaranteed reassurance.
I repeat a story Tony has heard many times, "Remember when I was in my forties and I rode that great wave and the first thing I did was look up to see if my mom was looking?
I then heard a new story, "When I used to go fishing with my dad, and when I pulled up a big fish, I'd always look over hoping Dad had seen it."
Parent approval and reassurance; it's something we never outgrow and one thing we always need to give.