Monday, September 5, 2011

A Labor (Day) of Love

I have the greatest husband and father to my children. He takes the brunt of the wild child attacks. He risks serious injury child tossing (not a mommy-approved game) and this weekend (like many before), he spent hours upon hours in the waters of Lake Erie being the anchor and life saver on a huge island raft with our three children.

As I sat on an Adirondack chair, taking in the fresh air, listening to the waves and thanking the good Lord it wasn't me on the raft, I felt a little left out. It was my fault. I have a slight phobia of the water, especially lake water or big water.

It makes me nervous.

It feels dirty to me (I am not a germaphobe). It's sandy and seaweedy and the bottom feels weird.

There are creatures in there I can't see.

I'm a wimp.

I did go out on it the first day, gameface and all. My husband dragged us waaaay out. It wasn't deep but it still made me very uncomfortable. It sounds weird. I felt like I couldn't just go in if i wanted to without a long trek through God knows what.

I fell in once and made a forced laughing and panicky scramble back on. That was the moment my husband realized how I really felt about it. He doesn't get it but he was sweet about it.

I've always had fears of water. I can swim. I don't like anyone attacking me in the water. Some people do like it. I've seen it....from the shore because I scramble out of the water as fast as I can when the shananagins begin.

Most of the time, I watched from the shore and waited for the warm towel signal. That's an important job. I am the end of the party hero, right?

So the last full day of our trip was chilly. Not cold. I still had a jacket on and light sweatpants. The kids ran around half naked. After dinner, the kids begged my husband to take them out one more time. He agreed. He's the hero. I'm the towel girl. Phhfft.

He grabbed the kids and the raft, took a deep breath as he began the final trek into the sea of frolicking chilly fun whilst I grabbed my book, A Place of Yes by Bethenny Frankel, which I am purposefully reading sooo slowly because I like it so much and I don't want to finish it. I plopped down on my plastic orange Adirondack chair (which is the smartest kind of chair- you don't have to paint it) and chose to read and watch the fun. With giggles and laughter they headed out to the deep (not so deep).

I began to read about Bethenny's motherhood experiences and advice, most of which I know but sometimes need to be reminded.  As if she were sitting in the chair next to me, she told me that we need to be present in our kids lives. Have fun with them. They know when we aren't paying attention or aren't interested.

I looked around as if someone was watching what I was doing. I looked out at the water. It looked cold. I was so warm. It looked seaweedy and dirty. I was clean.  It looked like they didn't care if I was out there. They probably do care.

I hummed and hawed about how much I didn't want to go in. They wouldn't take notice. I should go in. For them. They want me to go in. But I don't like it. But they do. They would laugh and love it if I did. Go in. Go in! GO IN!

I slipped out of the chair, ran up to the house, tried to change my mind before I changed my clothes. I covered up my suit to surprise them....or so I could change my mind. I ran down. Then I turned around and ran back up because I forgot my water shoes. Ucky-muck on the bottom (its actually really sandy and nice).

I ran down, disrobed and ran for my life into the water like Bethenny was chasing me in. In a "place of yes". Yes, yes....cold water, no, no....YES!  Would Bethenny go in? I'd make her.

There was laughing and screaming as I ran in toward them. "Mama is coming! Yaay!" They were happy I was coming. I knew they would be. We all laughed and splashed and had a great time. They all thanked me for coming out.

I saw the flip side of not wanting to do something because I'd be uncomfortable.  I saw joy and memories. It was worth fifteen minutes of cold and discomfort (thank God Matthew got cold and needed mama to take him in). I sucked it up. Houseys don't wimp out.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Totally empathize with your reticence to jump in the lake.