Yesterday I water skied. Not for very long but for the first time in my life I actually got up and stayed up for a few minutes (before an epic crash of water and skies and body parts). This doesn’t sound like a huge deal but for me it totally was. I like things calm. And quiet. And while I was once very adventurous I am now very cautious. I wish I could pin point the exact moment that I became nervous of what my body could do but I’m guessing it was somewhere between college and having kids. Which is sad because I was only 25 when I had Bailey.
My natural inclination is to sit on the dock with my feet in the water or to be calmly floating with noodles in the water while my kids dock jump and play. I don’t like jumping off things anymore. In fact, if I was being truly honest, I would be happiest sitting off to the side with my book in the shade while my family laughed and played next to me. Of course I would occasionally get up, go watch them, maybe dip in the water to cool off and take some photos but for the most part I am happiest sitting and watching.
And my kids? They are totally happy with me just BEING with them even if I’m not in the middle of their “sharks are in the water” games. I don’t have to participate to be a part of their happiness I just have to be with them laughing together.
But do you know who’s not happy with me on the sidelines? Chris. And it has literally taken me years to fully understand this. He is as much a kid as our children are. He not only plays “sharks in the water” but he invented the game! He taught them trampoline football and hot box and hallway soccer. He is the first one on the tube and loves to show them how big his splash is when he dock jumps. A lot of our kid’s favorite games were invented by their dad (and will hopefully be passed down to their kids…).
Once, in college, Chris, my friend Trish and I all went to the local pool for a few hours. Trish and I had magazines or a book or something and were so excited to lay out. About 10 minutes in to us being there Chris came over and asked when we were going to start playing. Trish and I looked at each other and then looked back at him like he’d lost his mind. He said something like, “You mean you came to the pool to just SIT HERE?” He was aghast and actually got really frustrated with me. Of course I was just as frustrated with him too!
On our honeymoon on day one we went to the pool, me with my book and Chris wanting to play. For an hour I tossed pennies into the deep end for him to fish out until I couldn’t take it anymore and suggested we head up for dinner.
It was obvious early on that he just always wanted to PLAY with me. He wrestled and joked and poked fun at me and was always inventing some kind of game whether we were waiting for a table at a restaurant or walking our dog or in our backyard waiting for chicken to grill. And for YEARS I thought he would just grow out of it. Actually, I thought he was totally immature and it became an issue in our marriage. For such a long time I was just waiting for him to change. To grow up. To stop playing all the time.
Again, I’m not sure when it happened but something in me shifted in the last couple of years. I’m guessing that it was watching him play with our kids as they got older and him constantly begging me to play with them all too but somewhere along the way I realized that if we were going to stay married and if I was going to love ALL of my husband I needed to learn how to play. I had to reach pretty far outside my comfort zone and be kid-like again. So I dock jump (a little) and go tubing (letting him TRY to toss me off) and work on learning how to water ski. I get on the trampoline at home and play with him even after the kids have gone to bed. I actively do things that I know will make him, in a way, fall in love with me all over again. So yesterday, after too many falls to count, incredibly sore muscles, some sun burn and tired kids waiting patiently on the boat I finally got up on those damn water skis!
And you guys, he was so proud of me. More proud that I was of myself even. Because at the end of the day if I died having never water skied it wouldn’t have made one bit of difference to me. But to him, I conquered something that physically scared me (totally true) and showed our kids that it’s never ok to just give up when something’s hard (I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to water ski since I was about 12). He said I had the biggest smile on my face when I got up (this might be true but it might have also been pure terror he saw!) but I’ve never seen him smile so big at me as when he pulled that boat around to pick me up. It was amazing. And totally worth barely being able to roll out of bed this morning!
More and more I am learning in my marriage that I NEED to be pushed out of my comfort zone. That I married the man God designed for me because Chris never gives up encouraging me to try new things. He pushes me to be a better person in ways I have no desire to attempt on my own.
This is our very first family vacation. We couldn’t afford much so we asked C’s Grandpa if we could come to his lake house in Cuba, MO for an entire week. We’ve done everything you can do at the lake in the water, we’ve cooked, eaten out, explored other local towns, walked through Onondaga Cave, visited Maramec Springs and PLAYED. Last night Chris taught the kids how to go batting for fireflies (you take a plastic bat and smack fireflies to see their butts explode and glow on the bats… totally gross but the kids had a blast) and as I was watching them all crack up as another one bit the dust I was just so happy. This man that used to drive me crazy with his games is one of the best dads I’ve ever known. My kids are so blessed with a dad that PLAYS with them. And I have a husband that understands my comfort zone but occasionally pushes me right out of it. I never would have believed that a simple week away to our family lake house that we visit multiple times a year could have such an incredible impact on me but it has. This has been one of the best weeks of my life!
Photo by Parker! 🙂
I have SO many client sessions to sneak peek but for once I am going to blog a ton of my family photos so hang tight! Photo heavy posts are coming! And then I will get back to regular scheduled blogging!