Friday, August 28, 2015

Paddling your own canoe...or in this case kayak

Strange how the deepest thoughts can come from the strangest places. Today I took my son and the daughter and son of a friend out kayaking in the canals in Huntington Harbor. 
They were out of the single kayaks I had reserved, so Shaun and her daughter had to share a double kayak, while I paddled a double with the 7 year old. I watched them head one way, and then the other, constantly zig zagging across the canal, gradually making it forward. I mentioned it once, pointing out the complete waste of energy it took to cruise for a moment and then paddle twice as hard the other direction.
I, on the other hand, was paddling myself with the "help" of a very energetic seven year old boy who repeatedly thrust his paddle into the water to stop our forward progression not understanding that his attempts to paddle too were making my life harder. 
But still, I looked at the big kids and thought about how much easier it was to just do it myself rather than having to coordinate with someone else. For the past 13 years I have been largely "doing it myself" raising a boy, trying to be both stay at home parent and working parent all in one magnificent slip of the wand. 
Several times in the past 13 years I have been grateful there is no one to compromise with. I can do it my own way and get it done, no one to fight with, no one to stand in my way. I wish I had someone to have fun with and help out, but when it comes down to brass tacks, I kind of like my solitary life and only having to clean up my own mess in the bathroom. 
Continuing on with all my mixed metaphors. On the way back from our lunch stopping point the big kids got it together. They figured it out. Even being misdirected and having to take the long way, they beat us back to our starting point by quite a bit of time. 
I was also held up by mini man wanting to swim along side the kayak rather than ride inside. I was often back paddling in order to not get ahead and when he tired he hung onto the back making it nearly impossibly to make headway. 
I thought again about doing it myself. How long it takes to do it all on your own with a boy in tow; how tired I was about half way through and still paddling away mind over matter; how much I wanted to just make him get in the kayak so I could be done already, but I let him play and enjoy himself instead. 
There have been many times in the past more than a decade that I wish I didn't have to do it myself. It would have been nice to have a fairy Godmother solve it for me. For many years I was tired, ok I still am. For many years I did what I didn't want to do so that he could play and enjoy himself. I have made more sacrifices than I can remember in order to be and do what was best for him.
In a few short years he will leave the nest. I'll be back to paddling my own kayak all by myself. It will be easier, maybe I can actually start that career I've always wanted. Life will flow without all the stops and starts and worries over whether or not he's safe and keeping up. But, I will miss him more than I could possibly imagine, and as for the past 13 years, I wouldn't trade my kayak with him as my passenger for all the single kayaks in the world. 
Once he's gone, I may enjoy the single kayak life for a while or decide to invite a new passenger in as long as they are willing to be a partner, not a drag. When it works, it works better than a single paddle ever could. When it's bad, it's way worse than any amount of work on your own. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm grateful for the past and all the paddling has given me muscles I never knew were possible and never thought I wanted. 
Here's to new adventures and many more canals to discover. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

hit counter