The plunge

I absolutely hate to be wet.  Abhor.  It’s annoying and messy and kind of sticky in its own horrid way.  An indoor water park is my idea of vacation hell, but we planned, before all of the awful of the last few weeks, to take the kids to Seattle for a few days before I met my girlfriends for the Madonna concert and when The Great Wolf Lodge south of the city ran a special on its “Kids Kabin” rooms with water park passes and free lunches it felt like kismet or fate or possibly punishment for some cosmic crime committed in a prior life.

Occasionally, life throws into your path the thing you need the most.  Focus has not been easy for me lately. I’ve lost focus on my writing, focus on my goals, and presence for my children.  Sunday, we stepped into the strangely muggy climate of a large temperature-controlled airplane hanger full of water slides.  The constant rush of moving water blocked all conversation.

The need to make sure no one drowned narrowed concentration to a single easy point.  Okay, four difficult points constantly moving in four different directions, but the result was the same.  FOCUS.  COUNT. BREATHE. RECOUNT.

Life refuses to organize into the neat little columns and rows that normally come so easily for me. Letting go, letting myself go under, induces instant panic.  But what else is there to do in simulated tropics hell, with white noise ringing in your ears and kids begging for attention?  Focus. Count. Breathe.

Do the lily pads.

Eat crappy food.  Laugh at ourselves.  Sleep in a room with a log cabin and four bunk beds built into it because we have completely ruined our chances of taking a normal vacation ever again.  Cram my ass into an inner tube and slide.

Manage not to get wet. Oh, I am good at avoiding things that I don’t like.

Busy is not productive. I know that.  Moving forward without prioritizing is a waste of time, just like prioritizing without moving forward is a waste of time (it’s called procrastination and it is my other supreme life skill). If I’m in balance, prioritizing and moving forward, I say no to a lot of things because they aren’t important to me and they don’t fit.  I say yes a lot when I am manically fill time to avoid something – like say grief. The illusion is that I can manage everything, but I’m actually failing to manage the most important things.

When I practiced law, I called this the telephone problem.  I wouldn’t want to write a brief and so I would answer the damn telephone every time it rang all day and then address whatever the person on the other end wanted.  But the telephone is not important, it’s just loud.  No need to answer.  Write the brief and check the messages later.  Answering allows the people calling to set my priorities for me.

Fear of emotions will set my priorities for me if I let it.  Avoiding them is like answering the phone. What I really need to do is turn off the ringer and write the damn brief.

Write it out.  Cry it out.  Sit still in it a while every single day.

Late in the day, after I went down the slide with each of the kids many times, lightly skimming over the surface of the pool as we shot out of the tube, Matt convinced me to go down with him.  We flew down that slide at three times the speed the kids and I could gather.  I knew about half way down that I was going under at the bottom.

I climbed out of the pool dripping wet and laughing and wrung out my hair.  Garrett thought it was a fabulous joke to drench Mommy after all and he pointed and giggled and asked, “were you scared, Mom?”

I was, I told him, on the way down because I realized what was coming, but it’s the anticipation that’s scary.  It’s not so bad once you’re under.

And you know, even grumpy, annoyed mothers dry.

Focus. Count. Breathe.

33 Responses to The plunge
  1. sunny
    October 6, 2012 | 8:06 am

    We went there about a month ago. I enjoyed it very much…didn’t expect to! Sounds like you are getting through the days. Best to your family.

    • Anymommy
      October 6, 2012 | 10:05 pm

      I thought it was surprisingly fun. And there was a Starbucks IN the lodge.

  2. Sheila
    October 6, 2012 | 12:05 pm

    Great post…the smile on S’s face as you come down the slide could light the world.

    • Anymommy
      October 6, 2012 | 10:07 pm

      She thought it was the greatest thing EVER. xo.

  3. K-Line
    October 6, 2012 | 12:31 pm

    Don’t you mean “kosmic krime” :-) And I LOATHE being wet. Ugh. Disgusting. Unless I’m in a very civilized shower or a sexy pool. Rain is the worst.

    • Anymommy
      October 6, 2012 | 10:07 pm

      I knew I adored you. A very hot, very clean shower yes. Possibly a sexy pool if it is only for me and it’s also warm and maybe has an infinite view of the ocean.

  4. tracy@sellabitmum
    October 6, 2012 | 5:35 pm

    I also loathe being wet. And shoving my ass into tubes. (and I see your ass up there and cannot imagine it having to be shoved anywhere…)

    Love this perspective my friend. Even though I’d like to say there is no way in hell I’m going to a water park. ;) xoxo

    • Anymommy
      October 6, 2012 | 10:08 pm

      I had no idea I had so many on my side for the loathing of all things swimming. Love it.

  5. Candice@NotesFromABroad
    October 6, 2012 | 6:13 pm

    I can sort of proudly say, that I have never been on a ride in a water park. I will do pretty much anything not to go into the water. I like pools, but the sort where you sit on the side and dangle your feet in the water, at the 3 feet deep side.
    I hate water in my face and eyes..
    I do not swim. I stay out of the ocean.
    Therefore you are my grumpy, annoyed and probably just a tiny bit anal Hero.

    • Anymommy
      October 6, 2012 | 10:09 pm

      I happily step into the Hero of the Water Haters role.

  6. Jennifer
    October 6, 2012 | 10:40 pm

    I too am not a fan of the getting-wet, but I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed our trip to GWL. The rooms were nice, the food delicious, and there were a ton of lifeguards in there. I was quite tense about one of the kids drowning, but they didn’t (which I consider a real win). Glad you had the chance to focus, breathe, and have a little fun.

  7. Deb
    October 6, 2012 | 11:10 pm

    Is that last picture your hair AFTER it air-dried naturally? After you got dunked? Because if so, I am going to have to re-think this whole relationship.

    • anymommy
      October 9, 2012 | 7:56 pm

      Ha. No. It did dry naturally, but I put Moroccan oil in it and ran the hot iron over it at quiet time. Magic.

  8. annabelle
    October 6, 2012 | 11:28 pm

    coffee in the lobby, ice cream in the basement! yay.

    When we went, i went down what our kids call the “toilet ringer” – the tube ride that goes round and round before dunking you under in the landing pool. When i went under, the bottoms of my old lady tankini skirt slipped down (yes that far) – it was all i could do to stay under until i could re-adjust and THEN stop drowning & get out – dripping wet. eww. eww AND yikes! ;)

  9. Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac
    October 6, 2012 | 11:45 pm

    Amazing how you can write so beautifully and painfully about grief…and a crazy water park.

    I hear you on this one. The anticipation of feeling IS often so much scarier than the grief itself. Glad you have gone under and come back up breathing and focusing.

  10. Linda Phelps
    October 7, 2012 | 12:11 am

    I’m with you, my friend, on the need to write the brief. I keep having break-through mini crying jags, even on a surpassingly lovely vacation to Kauai. I hide the tears and feel guilty and ungrateful to be so blessed (another grandchild on the way–the first biological one! Thanks to my dad’s thriftiness and inheriting his estate, we can retire before we die!) and still be sad.

    I want to call him and tell him the good news, and he’s not there.

  11. Mom24@4evermom
    October 7, 2012 | 1:53 am

    Good for you! I am trying so hard to convince myself I’m up to this, but (whispering) I really don’t think I am.

    Thinking of you.

  12. Marinka
    October 7, 2012 | 2:14 am

    I hate water parks but my kids love them so much. Please take them the next time you go!

  13. Korinthia Klein
    October 7, 2012 | 3:10 am

    We were at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Wisconsin Dells a few years ago for some sort of Army thing my husband had to do, and I hung out with the kids in the water. I felt like I spent my whole time spinning around counting my three kids over and over, and the general white noise of the place made that task seem harder than normal. But I too was surprised that it was as fun as it was. Thanks for sharing the photos. Particularly nice to see those smiles on your kids’ faces!

  14. Alexicographer
    October 7, 2012 | 3:13 am

    Hunh. I’ve never been to a water park but I delightedly get wet. Who knew there were people who don’t like to do that? Well, me, I married one (he showers, and golfs in the rain). Funny stuff.

    Looks fabulous, and too true on the anticipation being the hardest part. How was the concert?

    Still out here, still thinking of you.

  15. Alexandra
    October 7, 2012 | 3:13 am

    Do not like being wet.

    Do not like din.

    Don not like being wet AND cold.

    Do not like sliding down wet tubes with my swimsuit hiked up my butt.

    But I go each year.

    Because of the smiles it leaves on my children’s faces.

    They love it.

    I have no choice.

    (but do complain to my online friends …)

  16. suburbancorrespondent
    October 7, 2012 | 1:23 pm

    Wow, and here Larry gets irritated because I hate MUD when we’re camping. HATE IT. At least I can somewhat tolerate water (although the water in the face thing gets to me, too). So glad you had a good time and were able to focus. Focus is my mirage, my Shangri-La, as it were.

  17. Kimberly
    October 7, 2012 | 9:42 pm

    I was a swimmer for more than a decade, so I don’t understand your dislike of water. For me, the biggest issue is bathing suits. They’re evil. That being said, it looks like your kids had an amazing time, and I’m really hoping you enjoyed it more than you’d like to admit, too.

  18. Elaine
    October 8, 2012 | 3:25 am

    So glad you got wet! ;) And I adore that pic at the end and the one of you in the water slide. Precious memories…

  19. Jean Lebrone
    October 8, 2012 | 7:29 am

    It is hard to not get wet once you get into the waters. I am glad you finally got wet. Awesome pictures!

  20. Galit Breen
    October 8, 2012 | 12:26 pm

    Focus, count, breathe.

    And yes, oh my yes, gift yourself to sit in it (quietly).

    xo

    • Lidiane
      December 24, 2012 | 8:04 am

      i LOVE how all the new shows start. i love how the weather cools down but it’s not cold. i LOVE how the lavees change colors. folliage is such a beautiful thing, especially if you go up to the mountains. fall is definitely one of my favorite seasons! although i guess there isn’t much to choose from.

  21. Jackie
    October 8, 2012 | 2:07 pm

    Ok but seriously, we need to talk about your hair. Or, more accurately, our hair. Mine looks just like yours when dried and straightened but the second I stepped into the airplane hangar of humid hell I would have looked like a lion. Am I unlucky, or do you have an awesome anti-frizz product that you are keeping secret?

    • anymommy
      October 9, 2012 | 8:05 pm

      I love Moroccan Oil … do you use it? It just takes the smallest amount and my hair adores it. But I can use straight oil on my hair it’s so thick and I can go four days without washing it.

      But no, my hair didn’t stay like that in the air hanger of water park hell, it frizzed, I had reapplied oil and re-hot-ironed during a lunch break before that last picture!

  22. Lady Jennie
    October 8, 2012 | 4:58 pm

    I feel like I cry an awful lot when I read your posts. Anyway. I do like to get wet – love to swim. I’m sure that your little adventure was super healing, if not for you and your wet hair ;-) then at least for the kids. It was probably healing for you too.

  23. Issa
    October 8, 2012 | 5:41 pm

    You know…I wondered about you when you said where you were going. But now I think I get it. My kids would love it.

    Your vacations will be different friend, but that isn’t always bad. I mean yes, with small kids, we do trips we never would have without small kids. Then you plan bigger and better trips when they aren’t so little.

  24. magpie
    October 10, 2012 | 8:35 pm

    actually, that looks like fun – which surprises me to say.

    but – the light! the light is so artificial. of course it has to be, but part of the getting wet – for me anyway – is the being outside in the bright sun.

  25. the mama bird diaries
    October 11, 2012 | 2:02 am

    We went to great wolf lodge and i was panicked the whole time. The kids were in heaven. Hang in there girl. Sending lots of love. xo xo

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