I’m sitting in the ES music room at school on a Saturday morning listening to Josie rock out some Twinkle Twinkle on the ivories. Maddox is across the way jamming out a guitar lesson. Just another Saturday morning. I won’t lie thought, it was a bit of a struggle to get them here today. It went a little something like this…
Nobody was hungry until it was time to walk out the door, of course. So we had to add a little unexpected snack prep time to the lift off clock (they wanted sliced oranges “can you cut the quarters into half”)😳 and the usual fortheloveofallthingsgreatandsmallputsomefreakinshoesonsowecanwalkoutthedoor. You’ve got an idea how it goes if you’ve got a couple of these of your own. I’m not actually complaining though. Its all part of this thing called life.
I’m getting better at that realisation too. You might have heard that I’m learning to surf. (i mentioned that at some point in one of these posts right?) As I assume comes along with other midlife crisis activities I’ve been reading a bunch of surf books. My favorite so far has been Saltwater Buddha. Specifically this passage:
“Surfing is kind of a good metaphor for the rest of life.
The extremely good stuff – chocolate and great sex and weddings and hilarious jokes – fills a minute portion of an adult lifespan.
The rest of life is the paddling: work, paying bills, flossing, getting sick, dying.”
― Jaimal Yogis,
You see, in a two hour surf session, (had one this week in which my buddy and i were the only one in the ocean for seventy-five percent of that time, freakin golden) I probably paddled or sat on my board (ok struggled to sit) waiting for a wave for about one hundred and ten of those hundred and twenty minutes. Add in a few minutes of being pinned under water after my one to eight second ride (an eternity for a novice surfer or long enough to win a rodeo) of a wave that caught me more than I caught it and you begin to see how little of my surfing is actually spent surfing.
So in moments like these, or when the cash machine gives me a receipt but no cash or the fifteen minute drive home takes forty-five minutes instead or my bike tire is flat for the third time in two rides, or I just want to finish the last ten minutes of my Planet Futbol podcast but the kids are in the midst of what sounds like a battle royale downstairs, I’ve started thinking ‘paddling’ and I grin a bit and move along.
Because there will always be those moments where we get to school early and sit in the car an extra few minutes to finish dancing with JT or I’m sitting at a table in a restaurant on a Thursday night where its Mexican night and the Ghanaian wait staff puts on sombreros and breaks into dance as “Tequlia” begins to play before passing out free shots (it has yet to be determined if this image will replace pee wee herman in my associational images or not) or hearing Maddox ask Josie if she wants to snuggle with him on the floor as we’re watching movies on a Friday night, lying in bed with Robyn playing the dinosaur jumping game in Chrome on my laptop because the internet is out and we can’t stream the show we want to watch, listening to the kids play spies outside with the walkie talkies in the afternoon and then Maddox and Kwame telling each other good night over them from their respective bedrooms. Yes. Those are the kinds of moments that make all the paddling worth it.
So my surf skills may not ever lead me into the Wizard’s Sleeve but this life I live is full of some of the most beautiful barrels I could ever imagine. I’m thankful when I find myself in one, and take a minute to savor the feeling. Sometimes I may not even realise I’m getting covered up, but when I do its magical and I hope I’ll never take those moments for granted.
With my toes in the end of another school year (nine days) I start to feel the stresses of grading deadlines and getting things set for the coming year. I find myself worrying about traveling and another nomadic summer and can get all knotted up if I’m not careful. But if I can keep myself in the moment, keep my chest up, arms stroking and realise that burn in my shoulders is just the feeling of me getting stronger, then I can get through the whitewater and set up looking for another wave out the back and the chance to try it all again.
When you’re in the flow, you’re in the flow. When you’re not in the flow… you’re actually still in the flow. -Saltwater Buddha