Lessons learned

Son 4 to me (watching a person paddle board on the lake): “That looks neat”
My reply: “It does, I want to learn that. This summer, definitely”
Son 4: “But what if you fall?”
My reply: “Then I fall…and I’ll get back up”

It was a one minute conversation about a water activity yet when those last words left my lips, the tears started and the simple truth of them hit me hard. How that phrase “and I’ll get back up” captures a lesson that I needed to hear, from my own lips, more than I knew. My kids have a knack for this… showing me things that I need to see. They are my muses and my inspiration…

I spent some time this past week just hanging out and enjoying time with my youngest. He’s eleven now and I am still caught unawares with how he shows me things that seem so simple for him but that hit me like a brick upside the head. So here, in no particular order, are my “Damn! That’s brilliant!” moments from this past week…

*If you’re not sure if you can do something, try it anyways. Unless you’re really really sure. You just never know. This is a hard one for me. He scrambled up a cliff to get back to the top from the beach and as I began to climb, I said, loudly, “I don’t think I can make it up”. His simple yell back of “If you’re really SURE you can’t, go the other way, otherwise, TRY” got me moving. By the way, I made it no problem J
*Sometimes slow and steady is a recipe for disaster, momentum can work for you if you let go and just run with it. Going down a steep decline on gravel and twists and turns of a trail; I watch him take off and run… heels flying, arms pumping and he arrives safely at the bottom, grinning and panting. I slowly start to pick my way down, gravel starts slipping, I start thinking “this is going to hurt like hell when I slide down on my ass” and I stop. He yells “Just run!” Deep breath in and I let go and run…my legs feeling just on that edge of out of control, I let go and trusted my body to do what it knows how to do; move. And you know what? I flew down that hill and stopped right next to him, scared but fine. Not just fine even, feeling great! Somewhere in us, as we grow up and mature, we become afraid and that fear stops us… it doesn’t have to, and he showed me that.
*Take the path you don’t usually choose. So many times when I hike, I go past the smaller trails that branch off the main trail and wonder where they go. But I don’t take them. I stay on the trail I always do and have a great hike, but a usual one. We came to a fork in the trail and he suggested the other way and this time I said “sure”. What followed was a trek back and forth through dead ends and loops that eventually led us exactly back to where we started. But it was fun and left us now knowing that the other trail led nowhere 🙂 At least now we know. When you have the choice, take the one you haven’t chosen before.

The truth is that your comfort zone is small compared to how massive the rest of the world is! Watching my son always look for a new way to go or a different path that will lead him to where he wants to go reminds me that I need to remember to not box myself in. The only person who’s keeping me travelling the same routes is the person doing the choosing – and that’s me

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