We just got in from a week long vacation a couple of hours ago. It was a great one. Relaxing. We stayed at a 800 square foot house with an itty-bitty yard. On the other side of that yard, though, was a big old lake. I spent many hours on the back porch just reading and looking at the waves. And swimming. I love swimming.
It just so happened to be the same lake that I spent hours, and hours, and hours playing in when I was growing up. I was, by far, a water baby. My parents had a boat, so I was an early water skier, and had a kick tail tan. Until college, anyway. Then, as more and more of my friends moved away, I spent less time IN the water, and more time looking AT it when I came home. Then, the babies came, and gravity pulled more and more on all body parts, and time constraints kicked in. My kids may spend a few hours each summer at the lake with my parents, but that has been about it.
Not this week, though. I didn't just sit on the sidelines watching my kids play in the water. I got in there with them, for a little while each day, anyway. I remember sitting at our apartment pool a couple of years ago, watching the kids playing, with all of the parents (myself included) on the sides, watching or reading or texting, but rarely getting in the pool with the kids. The closest thing to adults being in the pool were the single, twenty somethings taking a dip to cool off while they were laying out.
One day I had an epiphany of sorts. I decided that it was crazy for the kids to be the only ones playing and having fun at the pool. Did the statute of limitations on having fun in the water expire when a person's body was no longer cute, or small, or toned, or tan? Was I going to let myself be a former water baby has been (wait, I'm not sure that makes sense...). I decided that I wasn't, so I found a totally mismatched, unattractive swimsuit, and a few days later I went swimming with my kids. And I wasn't just swimming; I was doing flips and dives off the side of the pool. I used to do it all the time, so why not now? I figured that I had better do it while I could, because the forties were now a reality, and who knew how much longer my body would hold out.
Little did I know that just a few months later, I would be in a car accident that would seriously hinder any attempts to walk correctly again, much less dive and flip. More on that, and how I've adapted my expectations--but not my convictions about doing what I can, while I can--next time.