345“Mom, how did Nicole get my phone number?” The doll asked me. Giving her an “I don’t know” look back, she explained, “Well she just sent me a text about sleeping over at Angel’s and I never gave her my number”. “Maybe someone else gave her your number…” I suggested and she accepted as a viable answer. Then our home telephone rang and lo and behold Angel was calling to ask if  the doll could spend the night at her house. “Can I?” the doll asked. “If you want to…make sure it’s okay with Angel’s mom…” I said and before I could change my mind, we were on our way to Angel’s house. “Mom, is there a chance we can go swimming tonight?” The doll asked. “If you all want to freeze, I don’t have a problem…just have Angel’s mom text me when you do.

Around 10:30 PM Angel’s mom sent a text explaining the girls were on their way down to jump into the pool. Neither of us expected them to do more than jump in and just as quickly jump out-as the air temperature was in the low 60’s with the water temperature not much better. When I arrived, two were in the pool while two were vacillating. “Mom I need to go pee” the doll informed. “Um, so do I” Nicole added. “Why didn’t you two go before you walked down here?” I asked annoyed as they accompanied me to unlock my dad’s back door. “You know this is the first time I’ve hung out with the doll since preschool…” Nicole said sheepishly. “Yes I remember we took that trip to McDonald’s.” I replied. “I wonder why we haven’t hung out since?” She pondered while the doll and I did the same.

A short time later Nicole and the doll stood on the pool deck looking at their two friends in the water. “It’s really not cold at all” Angel said and swam around as if to prove to them she was right. Twin, the other girl in attendance; reiterated Angel and said “The water feels great”! Nicole did the run and jump into the pool; emerging from the water, she declared, “You’re right!! The water’s not cold at all!! ITS FREEZING!!” Meanwhile the doll easily lowered herself into the water and bounced on her tip toes trying to convince her lower extremities the water temperature was warm. “Doll…you need to go underwater” I observed. “I’m trying not to get my hair wet…” She explained. Laughing I said, “Oh, well that’s just giving the others permission to splash you…” Which they did until she went underwater in self defense.

For the next forty-five minutes all four girls held hands jumping into the pool together;  played Marco Polo-each taking a turn at being the blind swimmer; held swim contests, racing back and forth; But most of all, they laughed and had a great time. I sat on the porch, fending off hungry mosquitoes and snapping a few pictures; acutely aware how lucky I was to witness the girls having so much fun swimming, laughing and creating memories together.


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