Monday, August 11, 2014

A Cautiously Reckless Sense of Abandon

Motherhood has brought about in me an almost incessant sense of worry. I worry ten years from now about my 16-year olds driving. I worry now about bike rides and running into trees. I worry about hurt feelings, kindness, meanness and shyness, healthy foods, chemicals, school and reading "later". Recently, however, I sat back a bit and watched my children with a little less worry. There were older cousins along, we were in a relatively contained environment, and I kept the occasional eye on them and the other on my book. 
It was an indoor water park, ideal for five to nine year olds. During one stint, I sat at the edge of a wave pool, lazy river, and swimming pool and observed Greta in her six-year old greatness, writing down a handful of notes as I watched her:  
Greta the Great at the water park, loving and living life!
First as she jumped in time and again amongst a pool of middle-school boys 
She quickly had her system down: “climb out, walk a few steps, pick a new random spot, plug nose with one hand and put the other up in the air, jump semi-canon ball style, land and swim around for a few seconds underwater. Repeat.” All the while with ten boys swimming around her and playing basketball, and I swear she didn’t even notice them.
Second as she experienced a wave pool 
Many enjoyed it the same way time and again, from a tube and letting the waves pulse you up and down. Relaxing but with a touch of adventure. Then I watched Greta and wrote: “She looks and works with different environments to get the most joy. Wave jumping, laying down face first and up, diving underwater into the waves, laying on her back. I am in awe of her.” And I am, the many ways she chooses to maximize life are an inspiration to me. She has a sense of cautious/reckless abandon, but pushes often to try anew and test herself.
Cooper and Callie fearlessly board The Viper.
I saw it too on roller coasters at Six Flags that next day. Little kids no more than four feet tall, 50 pounds, and five years old, jumping aboard the American Eagle, Viper, and even Goliath - a wooden roller coaster with the longest, steepest drop in the world! Surely those kids felt some anxiety, but they moved past it and enjoyed the moments immensely. I heard screams and saw fear on faces during the rides, but as soon as the slow tracks hit, smiles and laughter arose and excitable chatter followed. 
I’m taking a lesson from those kids, hundreds of them and from Greta today in particular. To live, create and initiate greater joy in my life. Joy is there but it takes work to grasp it, and to grasp it more fully. Since that trip, I’ve tried to do a flip (unsuccessfully) on the trampoline, I’ve made the effort to stop by and socialize with a few friends at Music in the Park (chatter and dialogue don't come easy to me), and I’m hosting a jewelry party for a group of women (my first since a book club date some six years ago). I am thankful to the signs in my life that are allowing me to recognize that I need to practice living with less worry and with more abandonment and happiness. As author Corrie ten Boom beautifully stated, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength - carrying two days at once. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” 
Less worry and more strength to nurture myself and others. Yes please!

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