Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

June 14, 2011

Thankful Thought | No.5

Today I’m thankful for a new-to-us outdoor swimming pool membership.

It’s just a mile or so from our house so it’s easy to pop over there for a couple hours before or after dinner swim. Simon is in heaven – we’ve been there three days in a row now.

I grew up spending summers at a local outdoor pool from the time I was maybe six or seven through my first few college summers. It was/is one of my favorite things about growing up and it takes up a lot of room in my memories. Every summer was filled with one or more of the following: swimming lessons, swim team & swim meets, swimming with friends, teaching lessons, life-guarding, coaching swim team, hanging out with friends and all the craziness that went along with growing up with a core group of kids each summer.

I swear that yesterday as I looked over at the big pool from my chair next to the little kids wading pool that I could see memories from the past clear as day, like a movie replaying itself right in front of my eyes. I saw the parents who came to the swim meets and volunteered as time keepers and the guy who cooked the hamburgers for years and years. I saw my brother and I riding our bikes from our house to the pool Monday through Friday at 6AM for swim team practice. I saw the struggle to get in the water on so many of those mornings. I saw the routine of my summers and thought about how when I was in high school I was often there from 6AM until the pool closed at 8PM – a full day of practice, helping coach the little kids, then teaching lessons, then life-guarding. I saw myself coaching the littlest kids on the team when I was in college – encouraging and cheering on the speedy sixers (the six-year-olds) as they raced their way down one length of the pool to the roar of the crowd as they completed their lap (those littlest kids are now in college). I saw the boys and the girls and the relationship dynamics of my teenage years. I saw people I haven’t seen in over 20 years and their smiles were as bright and real as if they were standing right in front of me and their voices as clear as if it was yesterday.

When I finally blinked I saw my own kids, one in the big pool and one in the wading pool, both enjoying the water and smiling and having fun, and it all came around full circle. I’m sure I daydreamed about this at some point when I was sitting in the life guard chair or playing Shark or riding in an old convertible Cadillac or seeing how long I could swim underwater without taking a breath – wondering what life would be like. It’s even better than I imagined.

Today I’m thankful for the opportunity to give my kids the chance to create their own summer routines and their own favorite memories.

Today I’m thankful for the threads that weave their way throughout our lives.

Download the Thankful Thought | 005 overlay here.

Thankful Thoughts is a semi-regular series. If you’ve missed any of the previous weeks please check out the archive. Click above to download a free Thankful Thought overlay to add to your own photo. Thankful Thought | 001 included a rounded corner mask and a video tutorial to show you how to work with both the mask and the photo overlay.


  • 1.
    ELaine Keller said…

    THANK YOU for sharing and prompting us to take the time to document our life for US and our kids. Just think how amazing it will be for Simon and Anna to read this in 20 years….

  • 2.
    Marty said…

    Thanks Ali!

  • 3.
    Lori said…

    This is so beautiful and well written. As always, Ali, thank you for sharing and being open with your readers and enjoy those glorious pool days!

  • 4.
    Gail said…

    Thank you for another Thankful Thoughts! As a kid, I too had the pleasure of riding my bike to the city pool every day in the summer … how long could I swim under water, how fast could I swim from end to end, how long could I float on my back, would my “boyfriend” be at the pool today, what snack would I buy, etc. … what great memories!! Thanks for the flashback :-)

  • 5.
    Sarah R said…

    This is so beautifully written, one of my favorite blog posts!Thank you for triggering my own memories of travelling to my grandparents’ farm community for two weeks every summer to take swimming lessons in the outdoor pool there!

  • 6.
    Liz said…

    we love the pool around here too…we are just hoping that it warms up around here real soon!!!

  • 7.
    Johanna said…

    A beautiful post, with a wonderful quote in your last line. Thank you for sharing your thankful thoughts.

  • 8.
    Sylvia said…

    Wonderfully written! So enjoy your blog, Ali! Thanks so much!

  • 9.
    MARIA said…

    Beautiful, beautiful, post. Thank you so much for sharing, Ali.

  • 10.
    {vicki} said…

    Yesterday, I got to enjoy our pool with my son for the first time this year!

    Very enjoyable.

    Loved your post today!

  • 11.
    Jan from Canada said…

    Lovely post Ali. I love it when we have moments like that. When memories of our own childhood are reflected back to us in our children’s lives. Snapshots sent from the heart to remind us to be thankful.. and it did :)


  • 12.
    Michele said…

    Thanks Ali. Nice memories and more memories to create with your kids.

  • 13.
    hsmema said…

    Thank you so much!

  • 14.

    Wow, what a fantastic journaling post. Love what you wrote, and I know, someday, your kids will love reading it too.

  • 15.
    Kelly said…

    Thank you for this post, Ali. It’s really lovely, and helps me frame a similar experience I had recently.

  • 16.

    Ali, I love this post! It’s like you read my mind…my two little guys started their summer swim lessons yesterday, and I too was thinking back to the days where I was at the pool from before dawn until closing, do exactly the same things: practice, teaching lessons, lifeguarding, coaching, and wondering if my guys would choose that same path for themselves. Thankfully, this year they are both excited about swim lessons, so I’m hoping they’ll hit my only goal – being able to self-rescue – by the end of summer. Hooray for the pool! ;)

  • 17.
    Paula G said…

    Beyond awesome :)

  • 18.
    Kelly Silva said…

    I’m thankful for this post. I too was on a summer swimteam for about 10 years and those 6am practices were a killer. I remember… Riding my bike home with a wet head and a towel draped around my neck. The scrathcy feel of the starting blocks under my feet. Learning how to dive of the blocks in the shallow end. Two hand touch when finishng the breaststroke. Trying to master the the butterfly stroke. Hoping my coach would never put me in the IM. Helping roll up the lane lines.

    Thanks for bringing back a ton of memories

  • 19.
    sandie said…

    Thank you Ali – very generous.

  • 20.
    o-girl said…

    I enjoyed reading your insights, thoughts & memories of the swimming pool and also about the 3rd grade field trip. Thank you for sharing your ‘thankful thought’ overlays too.

    Happy Summering…

  • 21.
    Tiffany said…

    I’ve read your blog for awhile now, but I’ve never commented to say just how much I enjoy it. Not only do you have an incredible gift for documenting life in a creative and insightful way, but you are a wonderful writer as well. Your writing is always so eloquent and thought-provoking and I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and words with everyone. :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thank you Tiffany – that was really nice.

  • 22.
    Asha said…

    I have very vivid memories of childhood swimming as well. It was all I wanted to do, the pool, the lake, anywhere, anytime. I was like a fish. I now have children of my own and our summers are filled with swimming at local pools, friend’s houses and lakes. the subject keeps coming up whether or not we should get a pool and I told my husband, ‘ya know what? i don’t want one, I like searching for a place to swim in the summer, it’s more fun to get out than to just swim in the backyard”. I shocked myself with that answer

    • ….
      Paula in Australia said…

      We have a pool in our backyard and I am very blessed to have it but know what you mean about searching and longing for a swim in the long hot summer during childhood when a creek or lake was just heaven!

  • 23.
    aubrey said…

    Great shot!
    How cool he loves to swim.
    My kids are fish too ;)

  • 24.
    Paula in Australia said…

    Ali again a wonderful thought provoking post. Thank you for your words and the way you write. I am sitting here in Australia in winter on a cold day and your words warmed me up.

    I am very lucky to have a pool in my backyard now that I have grown so my daughter will have access to one without having to go to the local pool but I know exactly what you mean. I used to love riding my bike with my best friend down to the local creek or nagging Mum and Dad to drive us somewhere for a swim in the summer. We lived a little way from the town pool so it wasn’t always easy to go there but the creeks and streams around home were always a welcome cool off.

    I will need to make a special effort to do that for my daughter now and not just take the pool in our backyard for granted. Wonderful memories indeed! Thanks again :-)

  • 25.
    Carole said…

    Beautifully written. I had tears in my eyes when I finished reading this post. Thanks for sharing.

  • 26.
    Anthea said…

    Beautifully written and you brought back many days of swimming at my local pool. I could smell coppertone suntain lotion, chlorine and pop corn. I could feel the heat of the sun and see that turquoise blue sky. Today in Melbourne, there is a grey sky with a fog, it may turn blue this afternoon, but in the meantime, thanks for the breath of summer.

  • 27.
    tracey m said…

    Ali – I have done EXACTLY THE SAME THING with the flashbacka at our pool the past two years with my son and daughter (8 & 10). It is the same pool where I swam as a kid, did swim team, guarded as a college girl, made many memories, and now I’m back there as a mom.

    I just told my kids the other day that I can’t wait for summer because some of the happiest times of my life have been just sitting poolside gazing at them….

    Happy, Happy Summer to you!

  • 28.
    Barbara said…

    Thank You Ali! I love these and other designs you have for sale. I’ve purchased a few others. It gives me a reason to play in PhotoShop Elements to learn more and have amazing photos to put in my albums. Working on 3 scrapbook on the road albums-one for each week of our vacation starting next week. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  • 29.
    Birgit said…

    Hello Ali,

    wonderful written and documented like always. I was never on a swim team but played and coached competitive team handball. My children (7&10) have been on the neighborhood swim team for six/3 years and it is exactly how you describe it – our whole family loves it and we life at the pool over the summer. I am curious what you/your mom did with all those ribbons, certificates and trophies though. I saw your mini album about soccer in your last book and love it but they come home every meet with so much “stuff” (heat ribbons, improvement ribbons, place ribbons, participation ribbons, swimmer of the meet certificate, outstanding performance certificate, medals etc.. Any idea what to do with it or how to include it in an album or a layout? Thank you for all your inspiration, Birgit

  • 30.

    Beautifully written. I sense a layout coming out of this… :)


  • 31.
    Jakki said…

    its even better than i thought…

    isnt that a cool thought???

    that life is even better than can be imagined????

    bliss…absolute bliss

  • 32.
    lea said…

    Love it ! Thank you so much!

  • 33.
    Jadell said…

    i forgot to mention on your camping questions post, that after you buy your new tent, I suggest a setting up trial run before you hit the road. This will give you a chance to figure it out before you actually need it. :) HAVE FUN!

  • 34.
    Rebecca said…

    Thank you so much, so wishing we had an outdoor pool available here. Here it is the river, which is much slower to warm up, much to the dismay of my kids. :)

  • 35.
    Christine said…

    I, like you, have spent many summers near a pool as my older girls were swimmers. Sadly, my youngest daughter has chosen socccer over swimming. Our neighhood pool has invited us to join them but the weather up here is soooo cold.
    I really enjoyed your post today. It inspires me to stop and take more of life in. There really is a story in everyday things and events.

  • 36.
    rebecca said…

    well, now you made me cry. that was beautiful. XO

  • 37.
    Anne said…

    Thank you so much for sharing your daydreaming about the past! It showed me that there are more people like me… I do that SO OFTEN at places that are “memory-pregnant” (thats how we call it -litterally translated- in German) places of my story… and sometimes I’m wondering if I do it too often as “people” always say, you know, one should live in the present time and not look back at the past too much and all that stuff… But then I think, why not. I will always do this looking back, I do it because I need it. It is important for me to remember and to not forget. And just as you describe it, then you glimpse and you are so thankful for the present, how life’s now and you are thankful that it is even better than how you imagined it to be, when you were young and asking yourself and your future how it may be one day.
    Soon I will me a Mom for the first time and I am so looking forward to see my child grow and make these experiences of life…

    I enjoy your blog and always come here to see whats new. It is so much how I feel, too. Thank your for inspiring and sharing.
    Way to go to tell life’s stories!


  • 38.
    Kasey T said…

    Thank you, Ali! These beautiful overlays are my favorite! I love the reminder they give me to find something beautiful or unique in a photo I’ve taken during the past week and journal about a thankful aspect of it. Have a great weekend.

  • 39.
    Tenille said…

    Great post…as usual so well written and so inspiring! Written with such emotion that everyone who reads it can relate…even though our summertime tradtions/routines may not have involved swimming or the pool! Can’t wait for my kids to start their summer traditions…so happy I live in a town that has an outdoor pool…we are so lucky. The town I grew up in did not! Can’t wait!

  • 40.
    Emma in Aus said…

    Hi Ali, this post was something I needed at the moment! We are in Australia in a hot part of Queensland and have a pool in our yard that my kids live in during summer, we currently have our house on the market for numerous reasons and the thought of not having a pool leaves me upset for the kids. We do have a fantatsic community pool and lovely people who utilise it and I can see now that whilst it is convenient to have the pool at my doorstep I really dont NEED it to be there for the kids to have great summer memories. THanks for planting that seed in my head!

  • 41.
    denise said…

    but ali….did YOU sleep in your swimsuit too? i used to. i wore that blue and white swimteam speedo all day long…and, i had the striped tan to prove it! such wonderful memories you brought back for me. thank you.

  • 42.
    Marci said…

    This post really touched me, Ali. The swim team in our community has been a blessing for our family these past two Summers. My sometimes shy children are learning not only how to perfect their strokes but, most importantly, how to relate to adults and other children. The sense of comradery (especially among the boys) is beautiful to watch. Thank you for letting me know through your post that we are indeed creating wonderful memories for our children.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      This really made me smile Marci – so happy for your family.

  • 43.
    Andrea said…

    I’m just now seeing this as I’ve been on vacation the past couple weeks and I had to comment. I have one of those “speedy sixers” and he’s so cute and proud that he can make it the whole way across the pool. I also have a 12 yr old and a 10 yr old (all boys) on the swim team. It’s our first year (highly encouraged to join by friends) and we love it. It’s such a great big wonderful family that has welcomed us. Swimming is also a great way to balance the nervous system and keep the body in check. My 10 yr old has asperger’s and I can see a huge difference in his behavior and how he reacts to things on days when he does not swim. Even our neurologist told me just yesterday that swimming is one of the best ways we can help him right now. He’s a child that thrives on the structure of school so when school is out for the summer he feels a bit lost but swimming has helped keep him on track not to mention all the new friends he’s made and how good he feels about mastering a stroke or placing in a race. I only wish we had an all year team! Keep your kids swimming and look into having them join a local swim team.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Totally loved reading this Andrea – so glad you commented :) .

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