Our swim team's annual holiday party is a rather strange event. As we swim before the day light breaks, we don't really recognise fellow swimmers without their caps, goggles and swim attire. Thus, it's a bit strange to see each other in smart dress, and we actually wear name tags indicating our lane assignment or best stoke. As families are invited to the party, there are a lot of kids and unfamiliar looking spouses present
Last year, the party was a welcome distraction. I had miscarried a few days ago, but I was enjoying sipping cocktails with my teammates. Suddenly, I felt something soft brush against my thigh. I turned in my chair and saw it was the 16 month old son of our breaststrokers. Without hesitation, he climbed into my lap. "Your son?" asked my lanemate who was sitting right next to me. No, I tilted my head toward the direction of his mothers. "Oh, he looks like he could be yours." I looked down at the little blond tot and wondered if I were to have a baby if he would look like him. He seemed content sitting on my lap, so I just let him stay there as my fellow swimmers chatted about some of our most dreaded workout drills. Two others commented that he looked like he could be mine, and sheepishly, I was enjoying hearing it. Then he turned around and his hands reached for the neckline of my dress.
The gig was up. The imposter was revealed. I picked him up and walked over to his mothers. "He's hungry and he was about to be quite disappointed." I reported as I handed him off to his Tummy Mummy, who proceeded to feed him. She pointed out that we actually look pretty similar. I had never noticed it before, as I never saw her out of her swimwear. We're about the same height, have long blond hair and we were both wearing a simple black dress. It must have been a case of mistaken identity. Although the non-Tummy Mummy wasn't so sure. "We were really surprised to see how comfortable he was sitting with you. He's going though a phase of stranger anxiety."
I wondered if like animals, small children can sense sadness, and maybe there was more than the resemblance to his mother that drew him to me. Interestingly, I saw their son at a few of our meets later in the year, and he never again approached me. As I was getting ready to go to this year's party, I wondered how he would respond to me. Unfortunately, my car died as I was backing out of my driveway (good news, we think it's just the fuel pump and not my transmission) and I never made it to the party.
Husband and I met up with some friends for drinks instead. All week I had been reluctant to admit that I really wasn't up to going to this event. It just seemed too odd to be going through the same motions again.