Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Something Hard. Check.

It would be very accurate to say, I am not a water person. The single "most traumatic" experience of my childhood was being baptized a member of the LDS church when I was 8 years old. That is a story in and of itself, but suffice it to say that was the first (and second!) time I ever put my head completely under the water.

Although I did learn to swim as a child, I have never to this day jumped into a pool or body of water that isn't more than 3 feet deep. I have never passed on my fear of water to my children, they just understand it to be that I don't really "enjoy water."

This year on our cruise, in talking to one of the couples in our large group they brought to our attention one of the "shore excursions" they were going to go on at the end of the week. Immediately, I wanted to do it. Mike looked at me like I had just said we were going to jump off the ship and swim home. He couldn't believe I wanted to do something that used words to describe it like: "snorkeling in the ocean", "kayaking", "strenuous", etc.

For some reason, I had a tight grip on the idea, and Mike stood encouragingly by me a couple of days later as I signed us up for the, "Kayak, Snorkel, Hike" excursion.

 Mike never said a word to discourage me, in fact I think he was rendered absolutely speechless by me suggesting and signing us up for the whole thing!  (He also knows me well enough to know, I'm somewhat frugal, and so if I'd just paid that amount of money for it, he knew I wouldn't cancel or bail.)

Granted. I knew I had  signed up for something completely out of my comfort zone, but I was still surprised the night before our 8am meeting time when I couldn't sleep well. It wasn't just the stress of which shoes to wear first and which ones to pack (both flip flops and tennis shoes suggested) that was keeping me awake, it was the excitement/nervousness/apprehension/surprise/anxiety about the whole adventure I was about to embark on.

Really, one could think I am making far too big of a deal about a simple excursion. But I know me well, Mike knows me well, so do my children. So this was a big flippin' deal that I was doing this! And I can't let it not be recorded into my family history files.

As we boarded our truck/wagon/would be 100% illegal and unsafe in the USA vehicle that transported us to our destination, I knew the experience was going to be one of two things:

a. A complete flop in which either Mike or I, or both would be completely embarrassed of my fears and the potential outburst I could have at either him or anyone else, and we would return to our cruise ship deflated and at odds.

b. Or, it was going to be one of the proudest days of my life. A day which I accomplished something fearful, difficult and hard. And not only lived to tell the tale, but had a smile on my face for days because of it.

The latter occurred.

It was one of the most fabulous things Mike and I have ever done together. I loved it. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the smoothest few hours. I did speak a little harshly to Mike on the initial kayak ride that he needed to quit moving because it was going to tip us. And I did initially chicken out about swimming out to the 12 foot deep waters to snorkel, and instead told Mike to go on without me. (Mike should have been born a fish,  he loves the opportunity to be in any body of water. Especially, the beautiful clear waters of the Caribbean. I didn't want him to miss out on this experience.)

(I wish I had a photo of the look on my children's faces, when I told them, "Dad and I rode kayaks in the ocean, and went snorkeling together." Their jaws hit the ground and the comments were, "No way!" "Seriously? You?" "I don't believe it. We need proof.")

(I spent the first little while with a death-grip on Mike.)

Mike refused to leave me behind, and in a firm, yet kind way encouraged me to come further. And before I knew it--I was snorkeling in water that was well above any depth of water I've ever been in before, and having the time of my life.

(Me posting this photo, is almost as brave as actually being in the water!)

 (There's a sting-ray down there if you know what you're looking for.)

There were so many emotions, and life-lessons for me personally from doing something so out of my comfort zone. I know it is a seemingly easy experience for most, but it wasn't for me, and I felt pure pride and satisfaction from doing something so hard.

The world is a beautiful place, and I'm so glad I got to see parts of it I've never seen before.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Patting Myself on the Back

I recently returned from spending 9 days away from home. Mike and I enjoyed time alone together in the beautiful Southern Caribbean. For 9 days, we did little to no parenting. Unless you count responding to:

a. the phone call while sitting on the beach from my 5 year old to inform me he was alone in the house (with his 2  neighbor friends) and that the over-night babysitter hadn't locked up the house.
b. the text from Megan asking if she should check Luke out from school because he keeps texting her to inform her he feels like he is going to "barf and poop."
c. the email to Megan to tell whomever keeps purchasing songs on my i-Tunes account to stop.
d. the text to Luke telling him, "No. You can't stay home from school today to ride your horse."

I have to say it was quite nice to have very limited text/phone call/email ability.

(Mike and Tiffany-victims of a blow-hole in St. Thomas)

We returned home very late on Saturday night. Well, technically, Sunday morning. All the children were fast asleep in bed, and I wandered the {clean} house (go Megan!) kissing them goodnight, and noticing a "few things" that sort of bugged me. Mike instructed me to "let it go" and we climbed into bed about 2am.

I'm not so sure how much of my not being able to fall asleep was due to my body thinking it was 5am, or because I was busy thinking about all the things I had just noticed. Things that in my absence, didn't quite seem to happen, but that DO happen when I am home.

The bunch of bananas and bowl of apples would have been consumed instead of sitting on the counter rotting.

Joshua's "Evaluate the moon for 20 days" assignment  that I left hanging in a prominent place would have been done at least one night.

Shirts would not have been in the clean laundry basket. They would have promptly been hung up upon their retrieval from the dryer.

All of the children's candy from their school Valentine's parties, and the candy gift I left them for Valentine's Day, would not have been consumed in their entirety so rapidly. Nor would the wrappers be left strewn on the carpet as evidence. (In fairness, this was primarily the doing of Drew and Joshua.)

Drew's homework packet would have been done at least once during the week.

I fell asleep early Sunday morning, within minutes of my arrival home, mentally patting myself on the back about all the things that occur when I am home.

As if I needed further proof of my mothering and household-running competence...

Seven hours later (yes. that's right.), we sat in church with our family. Drew was sitting close to Mike, and I heard Mike ask him, "Did you brush your teeth at all while we were gone?" To which Drew responded timidly, "Umm. No." Disgusted, I asked him, "Did you bathe or shower while we were gone?" To which Drew replied, "I had a tubbie once."

Just for the record I thought I'd see how Joshua's personal hygiene fared in our absence, and I leaned across Mike and questioned Joshua, "Did you brush your teeth while we were gone?" His face resembled Drew's as he quietly answered, "I did once."

I turned my focus back to the church meeting, but not before snidely commenting to Mike, "I do a lot when I'm home."

In addition to bananas not rotting, and clean laundry being hung up, when I am home, teeth get brushed and bodies get cleaned.

I didn't dare ask if Drew ever changed his underwear.
I honestly, don't want to know.

PS-The babysitter, and the older children did a FABULOUS job running the household while we were gone. Plenty of things were done, and done well. There were just a few things that obviously fell through the cracks. Oh well.


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