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?!”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!!