This week has been a rough and bumpy ride.
Traditionally on the last Friday of summer vacation we head to the ocean. I greedily clung to the remaining hours of freedom; willing the sands through the hourglass to sift slow. The forecast called for hazy sunshine and high surf advisories.
I stood in awe of Mother Nature. There is nothing like witnessing the ocean’s breathtaking power; allowing me to let the tethers and ties of life go. As the sets of monster waves crashed towards the shoreline I could finally be present in the moment with all my senses aware. Over the roar of the waves I shouted to the younger boys.
If the riptide takes you, float and don’t fight it. It’ll pull you sideways so don’t panic. Wait for the waves to calm and then swim to shore. Will yourself to relax and breathe.
I felt the waves carry me this way and that during this first week back- to- school. I mentally resist the return of demanding schedules and am physically exhausted trying to get it all straight. I longingly wished for the waves of last Friday crashing on the shore.
I need to ride this.
I need to let the waves crash over and around me; letting the routine settle to the rhythmic tides of time eternal. To give up the tiresome task of trying to control the things I cannot. I will myself to relax and breathe; to not panic. I need to go with the flow and let go.
“transition: noun. passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another.” Def. 1. Merriam Webster Online, Merriam Webster, n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.
When the suffix -tion is added to a verb, it changes it to a noun; meaning the act or result of (verb).
I am in the present tense of the verb, the doing. Most times I am fixated on the end result, the -tion. Instead of enjoying the transit, I am looking towards the end of the journey (transit- tion). I hold my ground wanting time to stand still, to have control. But the truth of the matter is, life is always in a state of flux and transition. These are not finite stages. We are always in transit, riding the waves; big and small.
I stayed in the water of foamy 10 foot waves for over an hour waiting for the perfect one to ride in on the boogie board. We need to go further out my son yelled to me. I signal to remain; to stay put. To keep our eyes on the water. The lure of the perfect wave means that we must put ourselves in strong rip currents. I chose to ride whatever tides I could, just because. The danger in life is always waiting for the perfect moment which rarely ever comes.
You gotta just do it. Live.
I spend too much time looking back thinking, should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. I ponder the future seeking the end result. But living in the present, in the here and now is tough; the doing; the action. To breathe deep and let go. To block out the fear and float; trying to rise above the foam. You can’t swim, you say? It’s okay to ask for a lifeline, to wear flotation devices. Maybe it’s time to learn to swim. But if you never ask, never try…the fear wins. You get stuck. You panic.
On day three one obstacle after another came like sets of rogue waves; knocking me out. I had lain awake til the wee hours of the morning; my mind racing. I was locked in the barrel; the walls of water collapsing around me as I fought to stay afloat; eyes searching for the shore.
But I am learning to reach for my lifelines; the ones who hear and affirm; not compare and contrast. When I flail in an angry sea, they deploy the flotation devices. They are my life “guards.” If I ask, they will come. To paraphrase the English poet, John Donne.
No man is an island.
The sirens wail. I am in need of saving. And my lifeguards deliver at a moment’s notice. This back-to-school business is for the birds.
Frustrations run high as procrastination and anxiety peak by 6:57 AM. The lunch bag gets tossed about as doors slam and tempers flare. On the first night of school we sit in the twenty-four hour mega store at 10:30 PM, picking through shopping carts. There is not one five subject, college-ruled notebook in sight and this son needs two of them. On day three the teen is frantic; his lack of organization glaringly obvious. He is made to run around the field until his dot book and needed items are delivered in his seventh period.
Day four, the hubs and son spend an hour searching for a world newspaper; the assignment due in the morning. My eyes see red. Quick to intervene before tempers escalate out-of- control the hubs sees it. The teen is his spitting image; procrastination and all. Upon returning home empty-handed; my caffeine habit proved useful. A quick trip to my local coffeehouse produced several newspapers. Crisis averted.
The middle son is unsettled; his junior high schedule now in its second revision. He longs to get into his routine; to know his class schedule is final. After typing several pages of homework he is disgruntled to discover neither of our printers work. Our workhorse that we’ve owned since 1996, the LaserJet, is on its last legs and the ink jet; dry. From upstairs I hear the hubs grumble. He currently is installing two new printers.
But all is not lost. The youngest son happily memorizes state facts. Who knew our state rock was the serpentine? Test me again Mom! He memorizes in the car as we roam to and fro; the older brothers dropped off at their respective schools. After the youngest’s drop-off I will myself to keep my calm as frazzled parents rush to push their kids out of cars; allowing them to illegally cross. When I lower my automatic window I see the assistant principal straddling the double yellow line. With each late, jay-walking child she whistles and yells. Use the crosswalk! Next time, detention! Tempted as I am to high-five her I hit the button as the window motor whirs. At the crosswalk, the police car parks. Stuck amongst parent drivers I turn up my volume and sing to my stereo; windows up. By the time I reach the freeway, the ride is smooth sailing. Glassy waters.
Day five is still in motion; the craziness of to and fro. The constancy of the tides, as in time, continues and I must learn to roll with it; absorbing the impact. I may not be able to control what happens around me, but I do have control of how I react to it.
One of my lifeguards’ text reminds me: My happiness is not dependent on someone else. I must create it, all on my own. I declutter and surround myself with things that inspire; not tire. Some days I’ll be riding the crests of the waves; others I’ll be locked in the barrel; crashing to shore. These things, these rip curls, happen for a reason. I take stock of what is good; remembering to taste the saltiness on my lips and the coolness of the foam. I can do this, ride this.
I am grateful.