Bumps, Scrapes, and Faceplants

For one or two weeks each year I get to run around with a bunch of teenagers more than half my age. I get to pretend to be 15, 16, or 17 again. I play as hard as I can and I never regret a moment. These kids are amazing. They are willing to try new things, new challenges.

They get on the back of a tube behind a boat and they hold on for dear life. They do it even if the water is cold, or rough. They do it because of the thrill of being alive.They put on their life preservers, jump into the dark water, and climb onto the large tube… then with a thumbs up they begin to ride. They ride through the water holding on with all of their might. They slide from one side of the boat to the next and then back again, over bumps and turns. They try to hold on and not lose their pants. They try to hold on longer than the person before. They try to prove to the driver that they cannot be thrown, but they will be thrown. And so they fly. They fly through the air and land on the water, down they go and then pop back up. When they pop up they catch their breath, wipe the water out of their eyes, thumbs up and do it all over again. I love these kids!

They get on a jet ski, they take their time and learn how to drive it. They are careful at first, slow. They learn to ride the waves and to stay away from others. They listen and watch and drive cautiously. And then? Then, not much later, they see the leader take off and follow as best they can. After a few minutes, they find their courage, they find their speed and they race across the water; their faces covered with a smile. Dolphins are spotted and everyone slows to a crawl and watches, waits, looks for more. There, again, there’s another dolphin! What beauties! Such freedom! The dolphins swim by, ignoring us all, but we saw. What a delight it is to watch them!. And then I look at my kids, for they are mine for the week, and I see the smiles, the awe, the wonder, and I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

Fireworks. Thunderstorms. Which do we watch? Fireworks of course, there’ll be storms again tomorrow. Across the river we find a place to sit and wait. People are everywhere, kids and parents, elderly and dogs, boats in the water… everyone waiting. The sun sets, the lights go out and then the fireworks begin. How do they do it? Such colors, such patterns! The beauty created in the night. The storms on the other side of us are dancing with lightning, far away; but in front of us? In front we are mesmerized, each beautiful display, the people as one, oohs and aahs and applause. My kids again, hope. Hope and peace. No one is upset, all are enjoying the night. How is it to forget the troubles in this world? How is it to know that right now, just for a moment, everything is good?

These are the reasons I volunteer here. For a week, I get to help these forget their troubles, I get to play with them and to love on them, I get to provide them a new way to express themselves. I get to be there when they learn something new, try something hard. I get to do it alongside them. I do it for me and I do it for them, for we are both blessed.

thank you for reading,

me

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An Excellent Day

Yesterday was an excellent day.  With my life surrounded by chaos, yesterday I was able to create a bubble around myself and my kids. (Two of them, anyway.)  Our bubble of fun went wild all over the area.  We were going to make it a beach day but not all of us wanted to go to the beach so rather than stay home and pout, like I wanted to do, we played.  We started the day full of energy and had breakfast out.

My kids love playing Pokemon Go and so we put it on my phone and started searching for Pokemon at the nearest park.  After we caught some we went and picked up a couple of friends to join the fun.  Off we went to another, bigger park.  We stayed there for a couple of hours, found some Pokemon, played on the carousel and ate some yummy food. We walked a little over two miles just there.

Having to take their friends back home by a certain time, we decided to head out and get ice cream before dropping them off.  Ice cream around here means only one place. There’s a little ice cream shop that makes their own ice cream with their own recipes every single day.  They aren’t open year-long and so when they are open they are extremely busy.  Yesterday was beautiful and sunny and so off we went.  It took a little while to get our ice cream but it was worth it!   I think we had dark chocolate almond, cookie dough, and Oreo ice creams.  Delicious.

Once we sadly dropped off the friends we were not done.  The day was still young! Besides, I had promised to wear my kids out by the end of it and they still had some energy left.  I had wanted to go to the beach after all, I was going to make them suffer. So off we went to Sky Zone, a trampoline park.  I checked them in and “forced” them to go jump for an hour.  It was wonderful, finally sitting down and reading, for that hour.  The hour went by way too fast!

The day was almost done and they were finally tired.  I had succeeded in wearing them out.  So home we went.  Showers and dinner and bed.  What a lovely, excellent day.

thank you for reading,

me

learning new things

What have I learned today? How can I say it? I’ve learned so much recently, comes with being in school. Today, though, did I actually learn anything? I seek to learn everyday, even if it’s just something small. Recently I’ve learned a lot about glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, and many other biochemical pathways. I’ve learned things about the human nervous system, and things about pin worms. All at school. I’ve also learned some less tangible things. Recently I’ve learned some things about myself. I’m a complicated sort of person, and I bet you are too. What is life if you don’t continue to grow? What good is it to wake up five years from now and be the same exact person you are today, no better, slightly fatter, slightly lazier, and five years older? It’s no good. People need to grow. I need to grow. I love the feel of my brain growing new connections. I love lying down at night and feeling my brain trying to store all of the important information and trying to sort out the good from the bad. We are marvelous beings! I love learning to trust myself. You’d think that at my age I would have a relatively good idea of how I feel about certain things. Well, I do and I don’t. That’s some of what I’m learning lately. I’m learning that my ideas about life don’t have to match yours and that it’s ok to be different. I’m also learning that it’s ok to feel excited, or sad, or nervous, or happy, or even scared. It’s not ok to have those things forced on you but it is ok to feel that way. I heard a great line today, “Is Superman brave? No. NO! you say, but he’s a hero! No. No because he has nothing to be scared of. He knows he won’t get hurt when he comes to the rescue. Superman isn’t brave. Being brave means acting even when you are scared, if you’re not scared you’re not brave.” Is life scary? Is the future uncertain? You bet! Life is full of uncertainties. But uncertainties make life fun too. So go out there, live your life. Have fun, be scared, act anyways and live. It’s your life and no one else’s, make the best of it.

thanks for reading,

me