Turn Around and Swim

Life | Lessons | Laughter | Love


6 Comments

Thankfully He Wasn’t REALLY Drowning

(Image Courtesy of Google)

(Image Courtesy of Google)

So the three little monkeys of mine now have swimming lessons. All in one place and for a half an hour every week. For thirty minutes I sit calmly and safely. I sit there and zone out from time to time while cannon balls shatter in the distance. I nod my head every once in a while to acknowledge a water tread, back float or half attempt at a dive. I nod away, they think I’m watching.

Sometimes if I get really animated I yell out, “Great job boys, keep it up.” I feel so free. I know there will be no Sharpie’s upon my walls or gallons of milk dripping from the counters. I know no child has clogged a toilet with a toy screwdriver which would later lead to its demise and removal. I know nobody is putting special bubbly in mommy’s contact case. I know no child is breaking and entering a neighbor’s home for chips in their pantry. I am at peace.

Why in the world didn’t I come up with this sooner? Why? This is the calmest thirty minutes I get each week. I do not care if the instructors pass them. I will pay anything to keep them learning water survival tactics. You’ll see, by the time they are 20, 15 and 13, we will have Olympic hopefuls in the making. I am a perfectionist and I believe, in order to achieve, we must practice, practice, practice. Ah, Namaste.

So by the time Peeno gets out of the pool and I wipe him dry, Noochie is getting out. Then Nickelbass finishes up his last belly flop from the high dive. Now I have regrouped, recharged and didn’t even need alcohol. But as we all know, all good things must come to an end. Now when your children are escorted out of the pool by their instructor, you dry them off and they put their shoes on, you expect them to make their way towards the exit sign. There should be no need to have your guard up or your mommy defense in overdrive. Nobody is getting back into the pool.

But yesterday when I was gathering my belongings, because somehow we always leave with more articles of clothing than we came in with, little Noochie decides to conduct a test. Yes, quite similar to the Emergency Broadcast System. Where it gets your attention until you hear, “This is only a test”. Well I guess over the thirty minutes while I was meditating, when I thought little Noochie was working hard at his breast stroke, he was eyeing up the Lifeguards.

(Image Courtesy of Google)

(Image Courtesy of Google)

Not in the ‘dude scoping out the chicks’ kind of way, but as in, ‘are they really paying attention kind of way’. Oh yes, you guessed it. He “accidentally” falls in. Of course they do nothing. I hurdle the swim team members, resin chairs and water-logged noodles and practically jump in after him. He says, “Mommy just calm down. I got this.” Then he swims to the ladder and in Baywatch fashion climbs out. I am all like in fight or flight mode and this little $h*t walks up to the Lifeguard and goes,”Hey, I just fell in the pool and you weren’t even paying attention.” I wanted to crack him upside his head. Yet, at the same time, he did have a point. Well at least he proved a point, which is exactly what he set out to do.

The Lifeguards are all apologizing to him, a five-year old, and I was still without words due to a potential drowning shock. But last night as I lay in bed with fury critters (more on that to come) I thought to myself, what a sly little guy. He is five and while he was challenging his instructor to push his limits and watching me to make sure I didn’t miss a stroke, he was also eyeing up the fact that the Lifeguards were not life guarding. The fact that teenagers were shaking in their swimmers for fear of job loss as a result of a five-year old’s test, just awed me.

Last year on vacation, when a stranger said to her sister, “That boy. That boy right there is gonna be somebody. He just has that look about him.” Well, she was talking about Noochie. I guess she was on to something. I hope I survive to see his triumphs.

What recent scare did you almost ___________ your pants from? What about you LifeGuards? Do you pay less attention when parents are around?


1 Comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: UP

20130425-230116.jpg

Spring. The universal time when the layers come together. Building one upon the other. Where the rooted tree stretches up, reaching for the sky. It stands firm. It is rooted deep into the depths of the earth. Strong but bending to accommodate change. It takes in the light of the mid day’s sky and the buds begin to open…up, and we too awaken.


6 Comments

You Wiped My Son’s Eyes

20130402-141335.jpgYesterday morning was off to a rough start. I woke up late. It was cold and the thought of bouncing from bed to shower just made me want to pull the covers over my head. I needed a gradual good morning. One that allowed sipping some hot coffee, curled up under the blanket by the fire.

I had the choice to act now and get a head start before the kids woke up. This would lead to my being present at the breakfast table with them. This would allow me to control the “I wants”, sibling bickering and a nicely prepared breakfast ending up in the trash. The nutritious breakfast taking second place to M&M yogurt and Easter candy. I had a choice.

The other option would be the gradual good morning. I chose this option. Despite past experiences, I decided to roll with it but was convinced I could stay mindful. I could start the turkey bacon and sip the coffee. I could wake the kids up, have breakfast on their plates and then jump into the shower. I could let them carry on with their bickering with an occassional diversion from getting ready to mediate. I could do this. I did.

It was frustrating. There were many interruptions. I forget my eyeliner on one eye. I forget to plug in the curling iron. The nutritious breakfast took a hike for sugar laden yogurt and Easter candy. I had a choice. I refused to get upset. I refused to be frustrated. I calmly put the yogurt back into the refrigerator. I put my other eye’s liner on. I plugged in the curling iron. I mediated. I took deep breaths. I referred them to brush their teeth and get their school bags.

I carried on. It was getting closer to crunch time. My oldest sounded the 8:01a.m. alarm. I knew the bus would be coming. I stopped. I had to make a choice to get them out the door. I wanted them off with smiles and hugs. I refused to not be mindful. I refused to let the chaos win. The chaos fought me hard. One went out the front door, one out into the garage, the other climbed into my car. Stop. We are not leaving yet. Come back in. They all did, eventually.

All he wanted was his snow boots. I tried to explain to him he wouldn’t need them today. He kept asking about the weather. Through the hair dryer I could hear him saying it is sunny now but a dark cloud is coming. He wondered if the cloud meant rain or snow. I had a choice to stop the hair dryer and crouch down to his level, meeting him face to face explaining he would not need the snow boots. I chose to put on his tennis shoes. I didn’t see he was frustrated. I didn’t let him explain. All he wanted to tell me was that if it was going to rain or snow and he didn’t have his boots he would have to stay on the asphalt during recess.

20130402-141259.jpgI had a choice to listen or be the parent in charge. I chose to be the parent in charge. I chose to not listen. He walked out the door with his head hanging low muttering a statement which really was asking for permission. He was going to grab his snow boots anyway. I saw his fingers grasp the boots. I removed them from his hands and put them back on the shelf. He grabbed them again. The bus was coming.

My oldest took off without a hug or a kiss. My baby was climbing into my car and then the bus stopped. I took the boots from his hand and threw them into his bag. I told him he was not listening. I chose to be upset. I kissed him off quickly and with his head down he walked down the 150 feet path of cement.

I was defeated. I let the chaos win. I did not send them off as I intended. I motioned for him to run. He never looked back. He never picked up his head. He stayed at the same defeated pace. Still yet I was upset. Upset that he didn’t listen. But really it was I who didn’t listen. I was too busy giving in to chaos. I made a choice to ease into the morning. A choice I knew would have repercussions. A choice I knew could lead to farewell defeats.

Then she grabbed a tissue as he boarded the bus. She wiped his eyes and hugged him. My heart sank. My eyes dripped with water. I wanted nothing more to run to them and get them off the bus. How could I let this happen. I was mindful of what she did. It bothered me. It stung. I felt like I failed. I made a choice.

Parenting isn’t always easy. Especially when you have multiple children and you are a working parent. It is a fine balancing act; getting yourself ready for work and children off to school. The intentions are good. The breakfast is nutritious. The lunches are packed. The schoolbags are ready. The teeth are brushed. Everything is in place. But what our little ones want most is to be heard. I know in this instance I was only acting on motherly intuition. I only wanted the absolute best for the children. But sometimes, we need to stop and just listen. Our children can provide an enormous amount of teaching. If we just choose to listen.


4 Comments

It’s Nice Not Needing To Be Somewhere, Said The Little Old Lady Who Could

Full moon. Mercury in retro something. It’s all wacked up lately. Everyones crazy. My kids won’t sleep. Things keep breaking and somebody let the dogs out.

securedownload[1]

Geesh. Can someone please tell me when it is okay to poke my head out again. I’m afraid I might get blasted with eggs or meteorites. I am not one to believe in all that full moon, mercury in retrograde astronomy hype but I’m telling you, the crazies are out. Plus I am falling off task. I must have an undetected by the human eye rip in my mommy cape because things are just not lining up.

It was foggy as all swamps yesterday and I wasn’t sure if it was Bigfoot or my children’s school bus coming down the street. I could hear the rumble of either beast but it wasn’t until I saw it pulling away from my neighbor’s house, that I realized it was the bus and my kids were not on it.

So I had to hurry now and get all kids to school. It can’t ever be easy where I live in never, ever land. Of course they have to attend three different schools too. By the time I actually arrived at work, I was so confused as to where I had been, that I might have rather been abducted by Bigfoot. At least I would have been able to trace my steps.

So to finish up the full moon mercury rising craze, I accidentally washed a Huggies pull up with a load of laundry last night. Did I ever mention how me and beady things do not get along? If you have ever changed a highly saturated, urine logged diaper you know what I am talking about. The beady explosives are insanely hard to clean up. Even when using an entire box of Huggies Wipes and dry and wet paper towels. Those things will linger on the skin of a child for days.

So just imagine what they do to a load of laundry. Nice. I called it quits after the fourth wash last night. Then I retired. I expected to get 5-6, not years in prison, but hours of sleep. Well Mercury and the full moon met or something and little peanuts woke up at 1:00a.m., 3:00a.m. and then my pooch at 4:30a.m. I hope I shed all the beads, crazies and fog with the next moon cycle.

You have to be able to appreciate these things. How many people can say it was a full moon last night and appreciate it? –Sandy Miller

I met a friend for lunch today. Something which does not happen often. Luckily her little girl is the lead chipmunk in a play and because I live in a home with no pink, purple or fuscia, I had a brown long-sleeved shirt for her to borrow. She gets to transform her daughter into a chipmunk and I get some company for lunch. It’s a win-win for all!

As we went to go pay and rush back to our offices, the computerized cash register had to reboot. Mercury must have really pissed off Mars who then ran to the moon who threw a lassle around Uranus because the little annoyances just will not stop.

Until the little old lady who could, said, to me of all people, “She didn’t mind. She had nowhere to be. It’s nice to not need to be somewhere.” She didn’t mind that the computer was frozen and then had to reboot. She didn’t mind it was pouring rain and the cafe coffee was bitter. She was just present and content. Content to just be.

I loved her for this moment. She was in line next to me to remind me that sometimes, we have to just let it go. Perhaps the harder we resist change and fight the astronomical Gods, the worse off we are.

So many people recount that they are alive today because on September 11, 2001, they woke up late, missed their train, stayed home with their sick child or stopped to help a bystander. We can easily get wrapped up in all our daily B.S. that we forget, that every moment we are moving forward. Even when we think we are treading or taking two steps back, we are actually moving forward.

So my love goes out to the adorable little old lady today at the cafe who could. Who could appreciate the minor annoyance of a slight delay and was just glad for the moment. I thank her for sharing that moment with me. I needed her today. Somebody really was listening when I looked up into the full moon sky last night and wished I may, wished I might…

thCAD218A6


6 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

"At the end of the day, it isn't where I came from.  Maybe home is somewhere I'm going and never have been before." - Warsan Shire

“At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.” – Warsan Shire

They crouched down on the snow-white ground and peered into someone’s home.  My little boys wondering what tiny, fury animal makes his way in and out of this hole each and every day.  The place spiders, squirrels, insects and chipmunks shield themselves from cold winter nights and hot summer days.  In the tree’s crevice these little critters hide from stronger beasts.  The place they call home.

I often think about the boys and where we live.  The place we leave from and return each day.  The place I call home.  The place where I have watched them take their first steps, eat their first foods, ride their bikes without training wheels and make off from, onto a school bus.  The place where we planted trees and watch our wild flowers grow.  The place where we run through sprinklers and chase fireflies at night.  This place we call home.

Yet, these are moments that define our home.  The moments can travel with us to any place we set up our temporary camp.  We cannot define our love for each other by the brick and mortar that surrounds us every night.  Real home is living in the moment and building experiences.  Home is where the heart is and it does not stop when encased by a layer of wood, brick or glass.  Home is not a place, but a moment. 

For the protection of the tree only shields and contains us, it doesn’t define us.

– Swimgirl


10 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

 

Set your heights more than what you see around you, see beyond. - Anthony Anderson

Set your heights more than what you see around you, see beyond. – Anthony Anderson

This summer the little guys and I were at a festival. I was taking advantage of some photo opps of them while they were sort of sitting around. Sitting doesn’t happen often with these guys plus getting them all together in one shot is a rarity. So, I was snapping away and upon review of the photos later when we returned home, I saw this photograph. I absolutely love the moment, their expressions and gazes. Was it a bird, a plane or Superman? What were they looking at? What was up there, way beyond?

My oldest and youngest are sort of in their non-animated, brace yourself for excitement kind of state. While my middle son, who never disappoints on the drama front, is all like Whoa! I showed the picture to the boys and they just started laughing and looking at each other. It is if they know something I don’t and they love that I am stumped.

They truly shared a brother moment of when what to their wondering eyes did appear. It could have simply been the innocence of childhood in watching a balloon float upwards and way beyond. It could have been the excitement of a cloud formation that resembled one of their heroes configured as a white puff surrounded by blue. Perhaps it was the blimp making its way to the NFL home game. Yet, simply, it could have been one of them playing a trick on the other to get them to look, at a unicorn in the sky.

I will probably never know what they were gazing at or mesmerized by. Yet, I hope they can always turn upward and look to the sky when they need reassurance, a blessing or when they think of someone they love that was once here. I wish for them to have many more brother moments that they share together such as this. And when the skies are grey or clouds cover their dreams, that someone up above and way beyond will give them the strength they need.


6 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

One more time, mommy, just one more time.  One more time to climb the steps and go down the slide.  One more push on the swing, just one more please.  Oh wait, mommy, I have to climb and slide, just one more time.  Now that I have finished my time swinging, climbing and sliding, just one more time to try the monkey bars.  Please, mommy?

So, I take a step back and patiently wait for, “one more time”.  Watching the innocence in play and not stopping until the sun goes down.  The rush of sneaking in, just one more time.  The chance to be in control, for a child,  just one time. The thrill in getting one more chance at play.

So I watch.  I wait.  I feel the warm Autumn air turning cooler as the sun sets and the winds aloft swirl about.  I hear the rustling of the fallen leaves as they whirl around me in the same fashion as my son.  The dance around me to get one more time to swing, and climb, and slide.

Then the leaves stop whirling and rustling, the wind kisses my cheek and the sun fades away.  It is quiet and still, and I see only a silhouette.  A silhouette that tells a story of a boy with much determination.  A boy with long curly eyelashes that could brush the feathers of a bird.  A boy who gazes out into the world before turning around to grab onto the monkey bars, just one more time.

Inch by inch he maneuvers his way around.  Around he goes for one more turn.  One more big breath before his decent.  One more tight grasp to make it across.  The wind begins to blow again, the leaves rustle, the sun sets and the moon makes an appearance in the evening sky.

Then he looses his grip.  One finger at a time holding on for one more try.  Then the last fingers slip and he comes to an abrupt but soft landing.  As I look over and down to him, I say, “Let’s do it again, just one more time.”

 

 

“Watch me at the window from your place on the couch, watch me pretending that I am really looking out. You say ‘come here, I can’t see you in this light,’ but I’m much safer beside the moon tonight. ‘Cause when I am a silhouette I have no fear” – Unknown