Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't Bother Toweling Off

“Work the kid into your life, don’t change your life to be the kid’s,” said my friend Tom between laps at Westside Aquatic Center. It was 2008, I was very pregnant, and struggling to keep any kind of pace beyond simple flotation.
Not knowing any better, I took Tom seriously.
I’m what is referred to, politely, as a non-traditional mom. I take HB to a big girl lunch every Saturday; on St. Patty’s Day we actually bar hopped. She has her own season ticket for Clemson football. She sings Lady Gaga. She’s three and four on her birthday so she has three tutus, four pairs of sparkly shoes, and two princess dresses, all of which I allow her to wear to school whenever she wants.
Because we take her everywhere, it stands to reason that we have been anxiously anticipating HB’s first round of golf with Mommy and Daddy last Sunday.
Not HB, but you get the idea
And even though it rained through the first five holes, HB’s spirits didn’t sink. She kept up a running commentary, “Mommy, yours ball pink? Daddy yours ball went in the water?” Cuk and I continued to play (albeit poorly) and simply enjoyed being together.
Sometime between the tee and my second shot on the fourth fairway HB and I began to sing, “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!”
This got a chuckle out of Daddy and a giggle out of HB and the rain came down a little harder like the sky’s own amusement overflowing.
The song is from Nemo, of course, and it isn’t the first time I’ve referenced the film. It’s got some great parenting lessons in it, not the least of which is: when life gets you down, just keep swimming. Setbacks, dead ends, distractions, or flooded fairways, just keep swimming.
These days I am easing into a much bigger pond, perhaps even a vast ocean of things like “writer” and “freelancer” and “independent contractor” or – whisper it for effect: “entrepreneur.” My rookie forays into social networking are showing me just how small the pond I’ve been in really is.
Opportunity is not a single knock on a closed door. It’s not an open window provided by a wish-granting deity (with respect to Maria). It isn’t a train that might pass me by, with another one always on the way. Hold your metaphors, please.
Opportunity is the product of preparation + courage.
While in my pond I will just keep swimming. May the current be ever in my favor as we pursue shared goals and express mutual gratitude. Yet the time for courage is near. I can feel it like the pull of an undertow gathering strength into a new, bigger wave.
On an early morning run in the fall a light drizzle turned to heavy downpour. We were two and a half miles in to a five mile route. Turning back wouldn’t be any faster than pushing on.
The swimmer in me said, “Kasie, there’s no such thing as ‘kinda wet.’ You either are, or you aren’t. And you are.”
I’d add, at this point, that once you’re wet, there’s no use trying to stay dry.

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