The grey sky loomed over us on a Monday afternoon in June. School was still in session, but the temperatures cried summer as we shed our backpacks in favor of swimsuits for our first serious trip to the lake that season.
The kids looked for sea glass as I did my usual water dance of first checking the temperature with my toe, followed by a shudder and an exhale of breath at the frigidity. My kids had grown to accept my slow movement at the water’s edge. I was a sloth, creeping and crawling until comfortable enough to immerse myself.
The air was hot and hung with moisture and I knew it was a matter of minutes before the storm would roll in before us and we’d be leaping to the car for safety. I was secretly hoping that I wouldn’t have to go in the water at all.
As I was trying to decide whether to go in, a woman with golden red hair ran in front of me and bounded into the lake. She surfaced and plummeted several times and was quickly joined by two grinning, shrieking children. They “wooo woooed” together, a mama duck leading her ducklings.
I found myself holding my breath, watching this howling splashing family.
My kids watched quietly, in awe of the mom who dove right in.
And like that, I knew I had to become her.
Feeling a like a fraud, I yelled, “let’s go! Before the storm hits!” I took a breath and pretended I was the brave mom, pretended I wanted to dive into the freezing water.
The kids eyes grew with surprise as they stood there, little statues, mouths perfect O’s. It didn’t take any convincing for them to come whooping in after me.
I practiced my new move the whole summer long until it felt natural, until it felt joyful.
Now my kids expect that I’ll be the one leading them into the silver water, no matter the temperature.
Turns out it’s never too late to dive right in.
Haha, great! I love, “I practiced my new move the whole summer long…”