Water has always been the place I felt most comfortable. I grew up with a pool in my backyard, and my parents often say I swam before I walked.
Swimming was my meditation when I was a child. A fight with my friends or a botched test became not as big a deal after a swim. A bad day melted away as soon as my body met the pool surface. The silence upon diving into the water never changes, and it remains something spiritual to me today.
When the parent of my Jackson’s classmate had her third baby last year, she came to me looking for advice. My response was to “keep your head above water.” That’s all parenting felt like in the earliest years to me. If I wasn’t drowning, I was ok.
My kids have gotten a little older, and things are both more and less manageable. The threat of drowning comes in a different way. So, a birthday gift from my parents provided my new mantra.*
It’s a line by the fish Dory in the movie Finding Nemo. If your not familiar with the film (in which case, what?! Make plans to watch it!), Dory and Marlin are on a mission across the ocean to rescue Marlin’s son Nemo. They encounter all types of challenges, and lovable (and forgetful) Dory reminds them to “just keep swimming.”
For me, this reminder is important. It means to keep going in the midst of a challenge. It means having faith that you will make it through whatever struggles you face. It’s finding the a spot of peace in the in the midst of turbulent water and carrying it to my life.
There will always be challenges and difficulties. Sometimes you tread water, and keep your head just above the surface. And sometimes you swim.
*I should probably note that the bracelet came after I told my mother that I wanted this tattoo. I think we both knew I wasn’t really a tattoo kind of lady 🙂