Sunday, June 03, 2012

Lessons from Sea Kayaking

This weekend my crew has been enjoying the Florida Keys as a belated 70th birthday celebration with Granddaddy Scott.

We have had a terrific time exploring all this part of Florida has to offer—collecting shells, feasting on seafood, watching glorious sunsets, fishing, swimming and exploring. Yesterday, we decided to try sea kayaking. 

It was a beautiful day and the journey out was exhilarating. Cool water ran down the oars onto our warm, sun-kissed skin. My partner, young R, listened to instructions well and was rowing in sync with me. The wind was at our back. It was wonderful. 

When we changed our course and decided to start heading back everything changed. The wind was against us. It was much harder to row against the current. Our arms were tired. The midday sun was hot. The newness and joy of the adventure had worn off. My once-enthusiastic partner got grumpy and whiny. We lost our synchronicity. It was not fun anymore and my attitude soured. I thought about the correlation to parenting. 

When we start we are shiny, happy people full of excitement and hope. The wind is at our back, the sun in shining. We are optimistic (and dare I say, naive). But the reality of life is conditions are ever-changing. Winds shift. Muscles ache. Kids express their immature opinions. Some parents (like me) find our attitudes turn immature in response. 

Despite the challenge, R & I made it back to shore in one piece. We high-fived at our shared accomplishment not because it was easy, but because we had faced challenges and overcome them together. 

One of the benefits of same-aged children is that when we are in a sweet season of parenting it is multiplied. So far, eight years old has been great fun. Although I am striving to not allow my fear of the future (adolescence) rob the joy of today, it would be dishonest to pretend I am not sometimes struck with a nagging fear that it can only go downhill from here. 

While kayaking I was reminded that the total package is what makes the experience. I am not looking forward to the inevitable challenges of shifting winds and oppositional currents, my weariness, bad attitudes, the loss of synchronicity as my little birds start trying to spread their wings to fly. 

Perspective is important and the bottom line is this: Wind at our back, wind at our front...we are in it together as family. Our family has a knack for adventure and our faith promises that we WILL make it Home eventually with high fives and stories to tell.


dee said...

This speaks to my season of parenting as we are experiencing those "oppositional currents" that you mentioned. Our youngest is graduating from high school in five days, and he cannot wait! So, needless to say, he believes he is ready to conquer the world and doesn't need as much guidance from mom and dad anymore. And, of course, we still want to offer it! ;-) Thanks!

The Niemeyer Nest said...

You can write a good blog post off anything! That's some talent you have and it's amazing to think of all the Mama's that YOU are impacting. Thanks for keeping me inspired!

Samantha said...

Be encouraged! Don't waste a minute dreading the future with your growing tribe. Each season has its joys and pains. The years I dreaded most with my daughter (12-13) were two of the most wonderful years to date in our relationship. We are growing into friends in many ways and it has been so very sweet! God's grace is sufficient, His mercies new every morning!