Saturday, September 17, 2005

In Which Michael Munches Mummy's Glasses

And this after he almost drowns himself. Let me explain ..

Charlotte, one of the girls at church, turned eight years old this week. Her family threw a birthday party for her at the hotel just down the road from us and invited the whole church.

Even after six years of this, Cheryl still marvels at the fact that in the Filipino community grown-ups attend children's birthday parties. It's one of those jarring cultural adjustments that she's referred to here before.

I say six years, because the very first one of these shindigs that Cheryl ever attended was out at Jericho beach when Melissa was two months old. We were invited by Larry and Loveza (and you KNOW it was Loveza who was doing the inviting) to their daughter Lariza's first birthday. She said to come out to Jericho beach (and didn't say exactly where) on Sunday (and didn't say exactly when) and that it would FUN!

That Sunday rolled around, it was getting on towards noon, and Cheryl started to get anxious. Loveza didn't tell us exactly where to find them, so how would we know we had got to the right place? And she hadn't told us exactly what time to be there, so weren't we going to be late?

My replies of, "Oh, we'll know when we see them." and "We won't be late. There's no such thing as being late to a Filipino party." were not very reassuring to her.

After badgering me for a couple of hours, we got into the car and headed into Vancouver. That was 1 pm. We cruised around the park at Jericho beach but did not see anyone that I recognized. By then it was closer to 3 pm. I suggested we try further along the road - out towards Locarno beach. It was near the far end of Locarno beach that I spotted a big RV with hordes of kids running around and 3 picnic tables packed with food. It was about 3:30 at that point.

"That's them."

"How do you know? We're hours late."

"I know. You'll see."

Loveza spotted us right away and herded us toward the tables. She said that they had only got there about an hour or so before, so we hadn't missed much. As it was, we stuck around until 6-ish and there were still people arriving, just in time for more food to be put out.

Anyhow, the hotel has a pool, and since Charlotte's family had booked the banquet facilities, the pool was also available for us to use. So of course, Charlotte's mom let us know that if we arrived early, we could take the kids swimming before they served the meal. When we arrived, there were already about ten or fifteen kids in the pool splashing around.

On our way in we saw a sign directing banquet guests to park in a different area than the main hotel parking, so I had to leave Cheryl to get the kids into the pool and move our van. When I came back, I stopped in hall above the pool area to look down and see how everything was going.

I arrived just in time to see Michael run up the stairs of the corkscrew waterslide beside the pool. This raised my eyebrows, as the waterslide emptied out at the "deep end" (it was only about 4 ft deep) of the pool. Ah, my eyebrows came down as I saw Cheryl position herself near the end of the slide.

Whoosh! One of the older boys came zooming down the slide and landed in the water near Cheryl with a big splash! I saw him paddle off, then both Cheryl and I turned our attentions back to the slide -- just in time for Michael to come flying out the bottom of the slide to crash into his mother feet first!

Cheryl managed to catch him, how I don't know, and then awkwardly swung him towards the side of the pool where she deposited him in a soggy heap. She turned back towards me and it was then I saw that she was missing her glasses. She dove into the water and found her glasses. Oh good! However, something was still wrong. She gestured to one of the kids nearby who was wearing goggles. He dove down into the water, obviously searching for something. That something turned out to be one of the lenses for Cheryl's glasses. They searched for a minute or two but did not find it. So I headed for the door to get into the pool.

To keep a long story from getting even longer, I eventually found the lens, but by then it was too late. Someone had stepped on it while it was resting on the rough, non-skid bottom of the pool and it was scratched horribly.

Cheryl told me that when they had first arrived in the pool area she had to deal with the twins and the girls, so Michael was able to make a beeline for the waterslide unchecked. A couple of older boys saw Michael come down the slide, fished him out of the deep end of the pool, and brought him back to her saying, "He was drowning himself."

The boy remained unfazed by it all. "I didn't know it was that deep mommy."

Note: Remember that there were only three of us back then.

No comments: