Nights like last night are just what parenthood should be about. This is a perfect scene: sitting with a group of friends with picnic baskets making the rounds. All the kids feel perfectly free to grab from any open bag of snacks. It's swim meet night, so we're in for the long haul. It's organized chaos on the pool deck. Dozens of swimmers of all ages are milling about, parents are doing their volunteer work, and coaches are everywhere. Our kids check in with us every now and then and then are off again, getting ready for their next race or just playing tag while they wait. The little ones somehow sneak into the irresistible and oh-so-disgusting creek and are reprimanded with us squealing, "Eww! That is NASTY water! Don't ever get in there again!"
Dusk, and the fireflies come out. The pool lights kick on, and it's really dark. And late. 9:45 and our swimmers have their last race. We pack up and are home by 10:15, a deliciously late summer night. The kind of night that will be etched in the very hearts of our children, so that when they are grown, they will remember swimming on hot June nights: the frenzied races, the comfort of parents close by, a huddle of friends on a single towel, a game of tag, and handful of fireflies.