Friday, August 3, 2007


Yesterday I went the to beach with Andrew and a couple of friends, including one friend, that I often refer to as Andrew's co-mom. She is great. She loves Andrew, but she won't let him pull his tricks. The adoration is mutual.

Co-mom took charge for a little while so I could swim. I love swimming in the ocean. It was a hot day, the water was nice and I didn't see any sharks. I kept my eye out though.

I was thinking as I was swimming in the waves about learning to swim in the ocean. The skills involved. The trial and error of it all. And, I thought, "man, I am good at this." I wasn't always good at it though. I have been crashed into and sucked under and smacked down many times. I always surfaced though, either sputtering and crying, or, as I got older, cool, collected and checking that my hair looked okay.

From experience you learn to watch the waves and you learn what to look for. There are the waves that you float over on your back. And there are ones that it is better to jump as the wave is approaching to fully enjoy the ride. Some waves you walk through side ways so it is less likely to knock you down. Some waves help you get back to shore if you swim with them. Then there are the big ones. The ones about to break. Looking at them you can gage how much time you have. I am not sure exactly how. I don't really know what I am looking for. But, I can sort of tell. Do I have time to swim towards it, so it breaks after I get by? Or. Do I mermaid dive?

Andrew is scared of the ocean. He was not scared last year. He could not take in the big picture. This year: all waves are bad. 'Yes, mom, that one may look small, but think of it's potential!' He and co-mom developed a coping tactic. Andrew wanted to be near the water while I was swimming. He needed to keep an eye on things. But, he didn't want to actually be in the water. He decided the best thing to do, was to sit at the water's edge, with two fistfuls of sand. As a wave approached, he would throw the sand at it, forcing it to recede (or, so he thought). Co-mom helped. Together they managed to control the ocean. That's a big job.

Do you feel an analogy coming on? Me too!

So, I was thinking as I was skillfully swimming in the deep, about the types of waves. About the skills needed to judge and execute the approach to take with each wave. How, the more you swim, the better you are at it. Life keeps up with sending waves my way. Happy waves to float over. Fun waves to jump into. and the breaking waves. The waves that I need to face, run towards, dive into. I am much better at navigating the real ocean, than the life ocean. I am not as wise at watching for or judging or swimming with some of the waves in my life. But, I am getting better.

Right now, Andrew is scared of all waves. Real ones and otherwise. He is a sucker for security, consistency, predictability. He would rather sit in the sand and dig. Or throw fistfuls of it into the water.

I am just hoping that I know enough about how to manage this pulsing water so I can teach him what to do and how to thrive. I am hoping that I have enough experience to teach my little novice to delight in the gentle and playful waves and to make good decisions with the breaking ones.

Though, providing some stable, dependable sand to play in, might be enough for now.

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