Making a Splash
It’s up to me then, to tap the brakes now and again; to pluck a moment of joy from the swirling life whizzing around me and savor it.I recently sat at the parent/teacher conference for one of my children, harried and embarrassed by childcare goof-ups pulling me away from our precious 25 minutes together. Ultimately, I apologized and told her I felt like I was in a whirlwind, that the whole month was moving too fast. I had way too much going on—from evacuating from the path of Hurricane Matthew and PTA commitments to organizing two classroom “Fall” parties, volunteering for the third, and planning my daughter’s 6th birthday party, on top of all of the regular responsibilities and commitments.
I told her I felt like I just needed to get through that week, then everything would calm down; then I’d be okay. I could breathe again. Smile. Laugh. Live for me a little bit again. Just one more week. She smiled and said she felt that way too, but that it always seemed to snowball into the next week and the next and on and on.
She was right. It did seem like I was trying to push through one more week, again and again, buzzing straight through it all without feeling or appreciating it. Everything was a blur during those fast-paced moments. I was rushing and cajoling, yelling while forcing my let’s-make-this-fun attitude down everyone’s throats. Yet, nothing was jiving and no one was having fun. It felt more like time served than life lived.
Today is Neve’s birthday. Tomorrow is the party. Once I jump that hurdle, will my life come to a peaceful, lazy river-like flow? Moving forward, winding and progressing at a nice, leisurely pace? Or will more twists, falls, hills, and obstacles hurtle me again down the breakneck rollercoaster of life, eyes closed, mind screaming, wishing for the end? I’m guessing I won’t be sipping a cocktail with my face primed toward the sun.
Life’s crazy chaos isn’t going to stop just because I’ve come to this realization. The schedules and plans will continue. It’s up to me then, to tap the brakes now and again; to pluck a moment of joy from the swirling life whizzing around me and savor it. Relive and appreciate it. Ensure the memories of what matters most.
That’s my newest goal: to focus on and highlight a single experience that could have easily been missed. So, here goes. A “hello bliss” moment from my life in the midst of the bedlam that was October. A few seconds of time that I hope never escapes my heart, mind, or soul.
As Hurricane Matthew approached, my family evacuated. We were lucky to find refuge at my parents’ home a few hours away. Because there were seven of us—five humans and two canines—we knew we would be a lot to take on for the predicted five-day stay, so we booked a night at the local Great Wolf Lodge for one night. At least it would get the human freeloaders out of the house for two full days.
Anyone who has been to Great Wolf Lodge knows it is a monsoon of people, noise and of course splashing water. People are running in every direction, kids can scatter in a heartbeat, and then there’s the wave pool and high-speed slides that fill me with fear of every calamity or injury possible. Not so much of a vacation for me. But I rallied and took to the slides with all three of my kids throughout our stay. Most of the time my eyes were closed or searching for the light at the end of the tube.
My children would run from the slides grinning, excited to file in line to do it again. I realized I was missing something—something important. While wishing for the ride to end, old fuddy-duddy that I am, I was missing the exhilaration of the moment. That intense joy for me wouldn’t be a result of the slide, it would come from watching my children revel in the experience.
I gathered the entire gang and requested that we go on the one slide that could hold us all. The five of us piled aboard the tube, hands grasping the handles and legs strategically intertwined. I looked at each little face. Smiles beaming. Eyes gleaming with anticipation. Instead of speeding through the ride, this time, I felt like I was in slow motion. We slid and sloshed down the tube, being jerked and twirled, coasting and colliding all at once, and I marveled at the wonder, excitement, and glee on the faces of my loves. I felt their joy wash over me and was grateful to witness and recognize their happiness.
It was just one high-speed moment in time, yet in that frenzy, I found pure bliss—that I nearly let whoosh right by me. I had no camera to capture it, just my own awareness and choice to take the time to absorb, recognize, and BE there for their delight, which ultimately became mine.