It all started with a poster. “Be a lifeguard,” it read.“Earn money for the summer.”
Bri came home from school one day in April all excited. The flyers were pasted all over the bulletin board and she really wanted to join. She called me here at the paper. “Mom, can I be a lifeguardi Everyone is going to do it. Call and make the appointment for me, right away.” A lifeguard, I thought — what a great way to spend the summer. Out there with all that sunshine, sitting by the pool and getting paid to boot. But I should have known all that glitters is not gold, and in the end it would cost. For Bri, the magic words were “earn money.”
After calling, making the appointment, going to the company and filling out all the applications, the end result was that our little girl would attend a six-week course — which would run us about $300. If she passed all the tests, written and practical, she would be rewarded with a certificate in CPR, First Aid and AED (automated external defibrillators); she’d be a Certified Lifeguard. She would also have a job waiting for her at one of the pools that the company services. Great.
Now, we all know that $300 was just the minimum; there were also all the little extras that fly under the radar: $15 for the CPR mask, $30 for the official one-piece red lifeguard bathing suit, shorts, t-shirts and the ubiquitous Official Lifeguard whistle. Yes, for years I imposed the no-whistle-in-my-house rule, and now I had to go out and buy one.Who knewi
Not wanting to be in this alone, and misery loving company, I encouraged Cousin Debbie to let her daughter Victoria join too, so the two cousins would be together and I would have a partner in crime. God bless Debbie, she jumped right on board. Victoria was really into it, and off we all went to training.
It was the best six weeks I have had in a long, long time. Debbie and I would drop the girls off every Wednesday evening at the class and then spend the two hours of waiting time doing what we do best, shopping and gabbing.
My daughter, who thought it would be an easy six weeks, realized that training to save someone’s life is not a walk in the park. Not only was it physically demanding, but mentally challenging as well. All during the six weeks, Bri asked for lots and lots of stuff — the movies, her nails, new dresses, new shoes, you name it she asked and each time she would say, “As soon as I start working I’ll pay you back.”
So all in all, the six weeks flew by, the money mounted, the tests were given and then the day came and happily both girls passed with flying colors. They are now ensconced at their own location, have swum the gauntlet and survived their first day on the job. No longer will summer be just a vacation from school: these girls have joined the ranks of the employed.
Not for nothin’, but now that Bri’s gainfully employed and earning her own money, she can not only pay me back, but I can kick off my shoes and take the summer off. VACATION, here I come!JdelBuono@