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Jumping off

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ImageWhen I was a kid, I would spend half the summer at my Grandmother’s house in South Mississippi and the other half at my Mamaw and Papaw’s farm in north Alabama. My Grandmother loved to play golf, and we would head out to the golf course almost every day. I’ll never forget the day she first let me drive her golf cart. I thought I was big stuff for sure. And because she also tended the gardens around the course, we always drove by to check on all the flowers. But my favorite part of the country club had nothing to do with golf. When the Mississippi sun reached its pinnacle, we headed to the swimming pool to cool off. And that’s where I learned to jump off the diving board into the deep end. The first time I jumped, I did it all wrong and as soon as my body hit the water I felt a million tiny stings all over. I swam underwater to the edge of the pool and came up desperate for air. It was terrifying and exhilarating.

I feel just like my childhood self standing on the edge of the diving board. Saturday morning, I registered for the St. Jude Marathon, yes, marathon, not half-marathon, like I was originally planning. A few weeks ago I said to Matt, “I know you’re going to think I’m crazy, but I’m considering doing the full marathon instead of the half.” He replied, “How long have you been thinking about this?” “A couple weeks,” I said. “I knew it all along,” he said. (He knows me so well.) 26.2 miles in December. I started off the year not being able to run a mile without stopping. I am crazy.

And a few weeks ago I registered for a photography class from The Define School (the brainchild of my genius friend Jessica Cudzilo). I’m taking her Auto to Manual class. For Christmas, I got a DSLR camera. I know absolutely nothing about how to use my camera other than getting my lens cap off and turning it on (which half the time I forget to later turn off). I want to learn how to take my camera off auto and not be afraid to touch all those buttons. (Right now, I don’t touch any of them because I’m afraid I’ll change the language to German or Chinese and not be able to get it back!) I’m more than a little scared (especially since everyone in the class is way ahead of me… of course, my 3-year-old is probably ahead of me) but my word for 2013 is treasure. And I want capture these moments that are happening all around me, the ones I treasure so deeply… sisters holding hands in the bathtub, spontaneous dance parties, chocolate milk mustaches.

As women, we are constantly battling the ticking to-do list in our head. From the moment we wake up, it’s there sounding an alarm and with every item we check off, three more appear. Almost every woman I know feels guilty when she thinks about taking a class just for fun or reading fiction or even taking a nap (In our dreams, right?!) The past couple months, I’ve intentionally carved out an hour or so Monday-Thursday to write. I love to write, but, so often, I don’t do it because my to-do list is always breathing down my back (and I was afraid everyone’s suspicions of aforementioned craziness would be confirmed and I would have no friends anymore and I would sit at home alone eating peanut butter fudge ice cream and watching Friends reruns. Although, I’m pretty sure I could get Liz with the pb fudge ice cream and Friends ;))

But… NO MORE! I’m jumping off the board, hitting the water (sometimes belly-flopping which on my pale skin is so unattractive), swimming to the edge and doing it all over again. It is terrifying and exhilarating.

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5 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. As a teacher let me say: one of the best things you can do for a child is make yourself unavailable. They need to be able to gain confidence and experience doing things themselves. They need to learn to come up with solutions on their own and solve their own problems. These imparative practical life skills cannot be told to people, they need to experience them. You are also sending the message that you’re taking time to be healthy for yourself and that there’s a time and place for everything. And the time and place for you to be available is not 24/7, as there are many important aspects to your life. Also, for your future sanity, never let your kids interrupt you or tap your body over and over or say your name until you get so annoyed you respond. Just ignore them till you’re done (every future teacher will thank you for this). I have articles further explaining this if you’d like. It was a hard one for me to get used to.

    Reply

    • It’s easy to fall into the trap of teaching our kids that the world revolves around them. And I’ve found that if I give Lydia a little time, she will almost always find a solution herself, and each time she gains confidence and skills for the future. I think there’s a balance of guiding and modeling, but also giving them independent time to make the learning their own. You always have good stuff for me, Alex. Keep sending me resources! 🙂

      Reply

  2. Pingback: Word of the Year 2017 | Elissa Roberts

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