Every Thursday morning I take the day off work to accompany and drive my mom to the local pool for an aqua-fit class tailored to those with limited motion and arthritis. There is a good turn out for this, filling one end of the pool with seniors and a few nearly seniors. The class is led by a young Mexican woman who is affectionately called the Mexican Bandit- she exudes explosive upbeat energy, comic antics, and genuine interest and joy in her bobbing charges strewn before her like so many seal pups in the water. She gets applause at the end of her classes.
I am there not so much to exercise but to encourage and support my mom and guard her from turning turtle should her feet lose their footing and float up, thus disrupting the fine equilibrium she attempts to maintain between her upper and lower half while following our leader pool side. She’s cursed as a high floater. We’re going to try 2 pound weights on her feet this week to see if that will keep her grounded.
For the most part my mother is just cracking up with laughter. But she’s moving in the water causing the necessary gentle resistance needed to work her muscles, so that’s all good. But side by side we do our best to execute the movements, I coach mom and keep one arm just behind her.
The music is playing with the “Oldies”, giving our movements rhythm to follow, and I smile while listening to many of them sing along- “Love and marriage, love and marriage they go together like a horse and carriage-” That’s so cute, I think to myself and kind of inwardly roll my eyes.
Until Rocky Mountain High by John Denver cues up next. Now who’s singing in the pool?
Peter is a good friend of my moms at a sprightly 81 years of age and comes to this class twice a week (he’s one of the pool singers) and if one would need proof that the exuberance and delight of a boy could still persist in the mind and soul of octogenarian man well, here’s your proof. Like when the Bandit brings out the Noodles Pete’s face lights up and he excitedly says to us, “These are my favorite!” and pushes his way through the water to the pool side to collect three of them and pushes his way back giving mom and me each a pink one of course, the blue one for him. These are for the leg exercises and stronger resistance exercises, but what tends to happen is reclining back and talking with the person who happens to be floating next to you, or in the case of us three, general hilarity.
It’s not how well my mom does the exercises, it’s that she’s up and out of her house, in the pool, moving her parts around, and sharing with others and laughing. That’s a wholesome prescription that really benefits.