Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sharks & Minnows, revisited

February 28, 2014

Studio City, CA

Finally the rain has come... all I want to do is light a fire, curl up with a book and hide a way.

Not my reality... breakfast... lunches... kids to school... work... life... READY SET GO...

So not in the mood! 
I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed and somehow reached the coffee maker. I heard my phone ringing and ringing and ringing... REALLY... it was only 6:45am.

I answered and like most of the things that I don't want to do it turned out to be the thing I needed most. 

After 5 minutes hearing out a friend in need, I quickly threw my reality back into perspective.  As we were saying goodbye she thanked me for sharing  my words and how a post I had written over a year ago entitled Sharks & Minnows got her out of bed today.

I needed help getting out of bed today... and I have no time to write so I oblige my friend and share again with you...

Sharks and Minnows

I am, as I write, happily in a reclined position, poolside, watching my girls play sharks and minnows in the pool.

Notwithstanding the joyful embrace of the above, equilibrium is off… I feel out of sorts…

Is mercury in retrograde?

The air is heavy, it’s so hot and the energy seems to be sucked away by the heat.

The past week has held a myriad of mishaps from my car getting plowed into to misc. missed appointments and meetings that mysteriously were evaporated from my calendar to juggling the trials and tribulations of navigating kindergarten with twins and their first week of school.

And I ask myself, “Why am I so exhausted?”

How is summer over already? “Time flies” is an understatement.

A week and a half ago I was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 130 nautical miles from Ensenada in Guadalupe Island. It is referred to as “the western frontier of Mexico” and is a 7 million year old volcanic island that sprang from the ocean’s floor.

I was off the grid… on a boat with 20 people… the only other being’s I saw for 5 days were Blue Whales, Elephant Seals, and Great Whites… Oh My!

Today, 10 days later, here I am poolside watching my 3 girls playing Sharks and Minnows of all things…how ironic.

I laugh to myself as I recall my emotional voyage out to sea, curled up in the fetal position, crying to my husband. I was sea sick, hating the boat and the claustrophobic room. I was feeling irresponsible and a terrible parent for leaving our 3 girls at home while we swam with Great White Sharks… unreachable for 5 days. Really?

I am back in the moment as my girl’s laughter attracts my attention. “Sharky, Sharky come out and play.” 

They splash in the pool as my eight year old, the Shark chases her two little sisters, the minnows.

I think back to my real world sea world adventure that already seems so long ago. It truly was one of the most amazing experiences ever.  After I got over the first night and awoke to the beautiful sunrise, the rest was a “Bucket List Item.”

Life Changing!

I was captivated by the daily show; with the beach as their stage, the seal pups play in the tide pools. The elephant seals leave their babies at 2 weeks of age. They must fend for themselves thereafter, 14 days old and they must learn to swim, find food… all of it… on their own.

How do those mama seals do it?  I can barely hold back the tears as I break away from the clinging arms wrapped like a straight jacket around me when it’s time to say goodbye to my 5-year-old twins in their separate kindergarten classrooms. Hang on loosely I tell myself… always.

Emotions have run wild this past week, excitement and anticipation about kindergarten. All of us parents feeling the same, going through the same anxiety and influx of new beginnings that our children are navigating.

Two weeks ago while I cried to my husband, Michael, on the boat, he reminded me that he fell in love with my sense of adventure. He reminded me that I tell my kids daily to live everyday as an adventure. Yet there I was filled with fear, not wanting to go, feeling as if I had made a terrible choice by leaving them at home.

Visions and headlines filled my head with “WIFE OF WHITE MIKE EATEN ALIVE BY A GREAT WHITE!”

Didn’t happen… I am here alive and well.

I think of my little girls… they have been feeling much of the same…  swimming in their own school of sharks. They are having great new adventures although it is unfamiliar and may be scary and amazing all at the same time. 

It is all a matter of perception.

Just like The Great Whites. The reality is, folklore aside, those strong, beautiful, majestic creatures, are not interested in us.  Humans are a threat to them and the reason they are nearly extinct. In fact, Sharks are such a great example of people’s perception being fed by fear and how it imposes on the greater good. It all feels intimidating, until you get right up close and experience the reality; it is not at all as it seems.

One of the greatest parts of my shark adventure was that I was ignited with a sense of wonderment, as if I were a child again.

It was a time of firsts… Remember what it is like the first time you taste, see, feel, or experience something.

Not only was it the first time I had gone diving with sharks. It was the first time I have ever been so far away from my kids. No phones, no Internet, no nothing.

Being so out of reach freaked me out. But that’s just it; anything can happen, anywhere, at any given moment (by recent example, car crashing into me).  Being a control freak this continues to be a very difficult concept for me to grasp. My morning mantra “let go of all fear and open to trust. “

I am again brought back into the moment as my girls stand over me, getting everything wet.

“Mommy want to hear the Rose and the Thorn from our first week of school?” asks my 8 year old.

They all talk over one another and raise their hands to go first.  The noise reminds me of the seal pups barking in Guadalupe.

My 8 year old, “ The thorn is that I am not with my BFF! The Rose is we play at recess.”

I smile, she’s learning.

My 5 year old, “ The Rose was when you picked me up. The Thorn when you left me. I missed you so much.”

I feel a familiar pang in my heart.

My other 5 year old, “ The Rose was it was a boy’s birthday and we ate cupcakes. The Thorn was I couldn’t have two.”

They are all laughing and happy and I realize this is their journey. I cannot protect them and make their new adventure all nice and cozy. They will experience all in their individual way.  And as much as I want to be there for every minute, I won’t be. Whether swimming with sharks in the sea or at a meeting, I am on my adventure and they are on theirs. 

I remind myself that when we all live life to its fullest and have daily adventures, we have great stories to share at dinnertime.