Because sometimes you find yourself doing the last thing you thought you’d ever be doing. That’s weird. – Kalebra Kelby
Featured, Things I hope my children will read one day, Travel

Because sometimes you find yourself doing the last thing you thought you’d ever be doing. That’s weird.

October 23, 2016

I’m calling this “Slingshot Sunday” because it’s too early for “Throwback Thursday” (even though a slingshot and a throwback are not quite the same thing…whatever…bear with me, lol)! Anyway, I was going through some old vacation photos and was reminded of the time when…

We were spending a glorious week of family vacation on the beautiful island of Maui. It also happens to be the ONE AND ONLY time
I ever went surfing.

You see, I’m one of those people who was never quite the same after seeing the movie JAWS and before you say anything — I absolutely know that my fear of sharks is irrational and because of that I wish the sharks no harm. Instead, I just avoid them at all cost. And until the ONE AND ONLY time I went surfing I had done a very good job of keeping out of their house.

But then we went to Maui on vacation…

And our son who was known at that time as the “Little guy” (because he was only six at the time) decided he wanted a surfing lesson. When he asked me if he could go…well…it went something like this in my head…

Oh my god — my baby! My bite size, shark bait of a child wants to go surfing in shark infested waters?! How can I get him to change his mind without him knowing I’m terrified and without terrifying him?!

But in that moment I realized that making him afraid of something he needn’t be afraid of was even more terrifying to me than letting him get in the water so, I stood in front of him, swallowed hard, gave a sort of reassuring (something just broke a little in mommy’s head) smile and said,
“Okay, I’ll make the arrangements.”

Morning of the lesson…

Got to the beach and was greeted by…hmmm…how to describe him? Well, did you ever see Keanu Reeves in that movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? Right. He sounded like that, except he was like 55. Putting his voice with his face was a challenge but we carried on. He gave our son his (on the beach) instruction and they were about to head in the water when my son stopped, looked at me and said, “I’ve changed my mind Mommy — I don’t want to do it anymore.”

Oh no! He sensed my fear! I’ve ruined the water for him! What can I do to make this right?!!!

I should preface this next part by telling you that it was at this moment I realized that I was pretty much dressed for the mall. Pants, shirt, shoes, (and all the undergarments you would expect) but why was I taking a mental inventory of what I was wearing? Oh no! I knew what I had to do…Ack! Ack! Ack!

My heart is racing, my breathing becomes rapid and before I even know what’s coming out of my mouth, (my stupid, stupid, mouth), I say, “What if Mommy does it first? Then would you go?” Yikes! What did I just say?!! Maybe he didn’t hear me?! Maybe it’s not enough to make him try?!
Maybe, but then…

“Sure Mommy, that would be great!”

Ack! Ack! Ack! I hate my stupid mouth!! I’m dressed for the mall! I am terrified of being in the water and with the eating machines that live there! Aargh!!

I finally accept my fate and let Grandpa Keanu pull me out into the depths and when I was sure I was far enough out that the Little Guy couldn’t see me…I start to cry crocodile tears. I’m not kidding. Full on, facing your greatest fear, crocodile, terrified tears. And that’s when Grandpa Keanu says, “Dude! Why are you crying?!” And I say, “Because I’m terrified of being in the water — with sharks — but I didn’t want my son to be afraid of them because of me!” (Insert BIG ugly tears here).

It was then that Grandpa Keanu and I bonded for life because he yelled (while pointing his finger in my face),“You are the best mom…EVER!!!! Woohoo!!!”
(I still say Woohoo to this day) “Now here’s your wave Mom! Don’t miss it! Get up! Get up! Get up!”

What?! Wait! No! I’m not ready!! Oh for the love of everything holy I am not going in this water!!

So, I stood up, bent my knees, held my arms out for balance and rode that wave all the way to the shore. Truth be told I would have walked on that water before I would have fallen off that board! Hahahaha!

From behind me I heard, “Woohoo!! Dude! In 25 years of teaching I have never seen anyone ride in on their first wave!!”

Thank you Grandpa Keanu—I love you too!

I came in so fast that I practically fell onto my son and husband who were both standing on shore, jaws dropped, staring at me (looking like I had just surfed in from some underwater mall’s wet t-shirt contest) and trying to catch my breath through the tears and giggles of relief and joy. I couldn’t believe what I had just done — what I had accomplished?! I mean, I just faced one of my all time greatest fears and in front of my darling baby boy — what a moment!! I looked down at my precious Little Guy and said, “Okay Honey, it’s your turn and you’re gonna love it!”

And he says, “Oh, that’s okay Mommy, I really don’t want to do it anymore, I’m having a great time collecting these shells with Daddy — aren’t they awesome?!”



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  • Reply Alexandra October 23, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Best story ever!!!!!

    • Reply Kalebra October 24, 2016 at 8:52 am

      Hahaha! Thank you Alexandra. Have a great week!

  • Reply Averil October 23, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Love this story! Laughed so hard. Thanks for sharing 🙂 BTW I must be out to lunch but I didn’t know I could get email updates of when you put a new blog post up until recently. I just waited until you mentioned it on Instagram. So glad I will get them from now on. Happy Sunday gf

    • Reply Kalebra October 24, 2016 at 8:55 am

      I’m so glad you liked it and I’m so glad that even I can laugh about it now. Hahahha! Also laughing about the email notifications for the blog post–it took me a bit to get it all configured (and figured out) but I’ve got it working (at least manually). I’ll have to work on making the notifications prettier but, at the moment, I’m just happy I’m able to let you know about the posts. Glad it’s not annoying. If it ever is just unsubscribe. LOL! Happy Monday! 🙂

  • Reply Carolyn Fahm October 23, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    What a great story! I always wished I could have surfed but I couldn’t for medical reasons. I am glad that the sharks were all well behaved and that you had a perfect teacher and cheerleader to guide your first surf.

    • Reply Kalebra October 24, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Thank you Carolyn and he was the perfect teacher and guide — I know I will never forget him. 😉

  • Reply Clinton ferrara October 23, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    That is a great story and you are without doubt an amazing mom.
    Do you still fear sharks…while you sit in your backyard photographing with one eye and checking for gators with the other?
    Someday I’ll tell you what a Japanese bar pilot told me about my fear of lightning while transiting the channel in a tanker full of jet fuel.

    • Reply Kalebra October 24, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Thank you Clinton. No, I’m not fearful like that anymore. I mean, I’m not trying to swim with sharks or anything but I do go in the water now. Hahaha! I would love to hear your lightning story! Seriously, how can I hear that?

      • Reply clinton ferrara October 24, 2016 at 11:55 am

        I will jot it down and send it to you. It is short.

        • Reply Kalebra October 24, 2016 at 12:34 pm


          • clinton ferrara October 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm

            I hope it is ok to post my story on your blog.
            We were outbound from our home port of Sasebo, Japan with a full cargo of jet fuel for the Marine Corps air base at Iwakuni, Japan.
            The ship was a small tanker built during WW2 for the lend lease program. The war ended before she was sent to Russia so her last 40 years had been spent delivering cargoes around the China Seas. We delivered everything from potable water to motor gasoline to military bases in Korea and Japan.
            At the time I had been aboard for about six months and was an able seaman on the 8-12 watch. I really liked this little ship. 360 ft. long with a cargo capacity of 30,000 barrels or 3000 tons. Top speed 11 knots. We were never in a hurry.
            We arrived at the Sea of Japan pilot station in the afternoon and picked up our pilot for the transit through Shimonoseki to the Inland Sea. When I took the wheel at 8pm we were just passing the Kanmon Bridge and we were in a violent thunder storm.
            The pilot was standing right in front of me looking out the porthole and making small talk in between helm commands. I mentioned the fact that all the lightning strikes around us had me pretty nervous. He gave a little chuckle, turned around and looked me right in the eye and said “The lightning and thunder comes from our ancestors up in heaven. Your ancestors would not hurt you, would they? You have nothing to fear because you are with your family.” He turned back to the port hole and continued his small talk. I was never bothered by lightning at sea again.
            P.S. This conversation was in Japanese. At the time, mid 1980’s, I spoke fluent Japanese.

          • Kalebra October 26, 2016 at 3:05 pm

            It’s absolutely alright to post it here and thank you — I love stories and storytellers. What an unexpected response from your pilot and what a wonderful thought to leave with you. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Grove Ayers October 23, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I love every part of this.
    As a surfer, I can relate to your uneasiness about the vastness of the sea and the creatures she holds. As a Dad, I can relate to bravely (sort of, anyway) doing something of which you’re terrified for the betterment if your child.
    Again, you’ve shown your wonderful combination of wisdom and whimsy, as well as your loving parenting style.
    Oh! And you told a great story!
    I do like that about you.

    • Reply Kalebra October 24, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Oh Grove — I love your comment — thank you and that is how the parent of their first child does it, right? Would that have happened with Yittle (our second) I would have stood on shore and thought to myself…“too bad she’ll grow up terrified of sharks.” Hahahaha! I’m kidding, of course, but I have had the experience with her where I didn’t make it to her in time and had to watch her swallow a bug (and I didn’t even call emergency services)! Gasp! 😉

  • Reply GelLa October 23, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Your a great story teller

    • Reply Kalebra October 24, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Reply John Durrett October 24, 2016 at 12:10 am

    So, you are telling us that your Bumper Sticker does NOT read “I’d rather be flying, painting, surfing …”. Got it. And Jaws scared the heck out of me too.

    • Reply Kalebra October 24, 2016 at 9:10 am

      ROFL! Yes, John, that is safe to say. Hahaha!

  • Reply Damon Favor October 24, 2016 at 5:30 am

    I was laughing so hard I was crying! Thank you for sharing this wonderful memory! You are the best.

    • Reply Kalebra October 24, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Awesome!!! I’m so happy to hear that. Have a great week!

  • Reply Deb Uscilka October 24, 2016 at 7:37 am

    That is one of the best stories yet! I’m surprised BB made it to 7 years old. Just kidding.

    I can just picture the whole thing! There is one thing missing, Scott must have had his camera. Where are the pictures?

    I have a 6 hour drive today, I’ll be laughing periodically throughout the day. 😂😂😂 ❤️📝

    • Reply Kalebra October 24, 2016 at 9:13 am

      Hahahahaha! You know Deb, there might be but surprisingly there weren’t many because once I got out there it happened really fast and actually I think he was in too much shock to shoot. ROFL!! I’ll have to go digging around now though — it was a while ago. 😉

  • Reply Catherine Martin November 1, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    What a great story. It’s amazing the things that happen that get us to face those fears. I loved it – thank you for sharing. Made my day 🙂

    • Reply Kalebra November 3, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Haha! That is for sure Catherine. Thank you for stopping by — so glad you liked the story. 🙂

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