“Are you buying a hard board?” My husband asked me, as I told him about demo’ing race boards earlier that morning. I had no answer. Because I don’t. What I know is that when I stood on those race boards… that feeling came over me again.
You know… that one. The one that seeks adventure. The one that doesn’t run from but towards. The one that has this thing about trying new things. All the damn time.
My husband is the ying to my yang. He’s the reserved and cautious to my daredevil explorer. He keeps me from being reckless yet encourages me to fly. He listens to my dreams and helps me reach for them without being nuts.
Well, being nuts is likely debatable.
When I turned 40 I learned how to speed skate. I bought a snowboard and with my son, learned how to snowboard. I can’t help this side of me. It delivered me to the finish lined of 8 Ironmans, led me to a surf board and refuses to be perched up on a branch watching life go by.
Our son has a learning disability. Technically he’s speech and language impaired, he sits somewhere along the spectrum…. and to be very honest I don’t give a damn where. Diagnoses do nothing except get him classified and place him in a box. What we do is support him where he needs to be supported. I have learned through the years that no diagnosis, no teacher, and no plan can nurture the way we can.
He is very cautious, he is very observant and he is very inquisitive.
When I got pulled off the course of an Ironman in an ambulance he wanted to know about it. What did it feel like to DNF? What did it feel like to get hurt?
He wanted to know what it felt like to win, he wanted to know what it felt like to lose, he wanted to know everything as if he was getting a preview and could somehow prepare himself.
I justify the adventure part of my personality with it being teaching moments for him. When I got the SUP this summer he listened while I told him how I would fall, get back up and fall again. He wanted to know why I got back up. He wanted to know if I was embarrassed to fall. He wanted to know if it hurt. He wanted the details.
When I had him on the lake he was uncomfortable and he fell too. I got him back on the board. He didn’t want to and I reminded him that we have to fall to stand. When I assured him he was safe and that I was right there he got back on.
It’s important to me that he sees me pursuing the adventure. We watched a surfing documentary the other night instead of saying the surfers should wear life vests he wanted to know what it was like to be thrown around in the waves. What it was like to be underwater like that.
Fortunately for him…. I have spent a LIFETIME getting thrown around by waves, unsure of which way exactly…. was up. If there is one thing he has watched me do it’s always reach. Always try new things. Seek adventure.
I want him to know that this world should be seen through his eyes not though a screen or a magazine. I want him to know that there is beauty in each breath and the countryside holds views he will never see from the highway. I want him to see that you can get thrown to the ground, get carried off the race course in an ambulance and still get out of bed the next day.
I don’t know where this comes from but I know I have this deep burning desire to experience this world 100% . Our time here is short and too short to not be grabbing every opportunity that we can to give chase to the adventures that light us up.
The pool…. lights me UP. You may see a black line to nowhere but what I see is the deep dive into a dream. Into finishing something I should have finished 20 years ago but at the same time realizing that the black line…. is sometimes blue. Sometimes red. Sometimes tiled and sometimes solid.
In 2004 they recommended he live in a group home. It might not surprise you that I ignored them. They can all F*ck off to be honest. You are a doctor of what? No doctor on this earth who even has the ability to assess a stone should be able to tell that to a parent. Based on an hour of testing. Hells to the no.
I am not afraid to be blunt. I am not afraid to speak my mind. I am not afraid to get on my damn hands and knees to spin this world backwards to make sure he goes to school where he should go to school, that he is an independent human being contributing to this world…. and that he NEVER allows anyone to write his story.
You should have seen the story they tried to write for ME 20 years ago.
Good thing I didn’t listen.
Through my own adventures I can see it coming along…. his desire to find his own adventures. He has snowboarded, skied, played tennis. I want him to be unafraid to adventure and I want him to know in his heart that when he falls that he WILL still get back up. I don’t think he learns much from seeing me on top of a podium as he does when he sees me chasing new adventures.
I can tell him all about it. Or he can see me do it. When he sees me doing it….. he gets closer to the edge. He asks about it. Then he will dip his toe in. He will inch his way along while I will kamikaze jump right in. Either way I want him to reach. For anything.
This swim focus and aim for USMS Nationals has him intrigued. He’s asked about the times and what cut offs mean. He’s asked me what I would do if I make the cut, and what I will do if I don’t make the cut. I am trying to teach him…. because I have missed cutoffs before…. that the journey yields far more important lessons than the time or the spot on the podium. Those can be important, yes but they are the icing on the cake. If I fail to make the qualifying time the journey doesn’t get negated.
Later that day Luc asked me how I liked the racing SUP board. I told him I loved it and why I loved it. He asked me if I get that feeling when I race. Any race. That feeling? Yeah, I told him. I get that feeling all the time.
It’s kind of cool. He said. Bingo.
That feeling of butterflies, that feeling of adrenaline. I don’t care if you find it at the starting line of a race, at the top of a cliff you are about to dive off of, or on the first day of high school. Instead of shying away from it…. seek it. Look for it. Search for it. It teaches you so much about everything. THAT is what I want him to learn.
“Are you getting the hard board?” Curt asked me again last night. I wanted to deny my desire for it. Hell it’s less than a bike, right? It’s not about the board, it’s about the adventure. A life without adventure ….. what kind of fun is that?
Maybe Luc isn’t the only one who is inching closer to that edge.