Last weekend I learned how far I haven’t come in life. Or maybe I confirmed circles are the path we follow, after all. I’m not sure, which. But I like the notion of the circular thing much more than the idea that I’ve travelled exactly nowhere in my lifes’ journey. So I’ll go with that. Where did I get to?
I am right where I was when I was 18. I am a lifeguard. Or at least I’m now certified, as such. Again.
I’ve lived a lot of life and gotten a fairly decent education to be where I am. I’ve been responsible. I even achieved a certain level of success in my career. These are all things that tickered through my mental tape when I first entered the room in back of the building next to the garbage dumpster…
It’s difficult to describe, really, the overall experience, so let me just say it was humbling. Humbling to be among a roomful of high school seniors smattered with some college freshman and realize I was the same age as their mother. Humbling to sit on an old van seat smeared with grease stains in a room of old van seats watching Red Cross videos. Humbling to be earnestly taking notes, listening to the presenter while the paperwork processing lady kept pointing to different people in the room blurting, “Have you paid me yet? Have YOU paid me yet?” Humbling to follow behind an econo van resembling a modern version of the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and drive another 20 miles (I elected to drive myself) to swim in a freezing pool on a freezing day as an unwitting character in a public relations stunt, while the pool manager runs a play by play through her megaphone letting the pool patrons know exactly what we whacky lifeguard candidates were up to in the diving well. I felt exactly like an unexpected character in a Coen brothers’ film.
But I returned the next day and completed the process. I’m ready to coach. The kids are all signed up for summer swim team.
So it seems I’ll go to great lengths (and depths) to get my children involved or included in the short time we live in any one community. Where we live now is fairly high speed in the competition arena. So when I thought it would be a good thing for the kids to experience summer swim team, I soon realized we couldn’t get in anywhere any time soon. There are waiting lists for most of the pools in our area. That’s when I decided to present myself as a package deal. I’ve been coaching winter league for several years now, and am a certified USA Swimming coach. I knew several pools needed assistant coaches. I didn’t know I’d need to regain lifeguard certification. That came later.
I spend a lot of time worrying about my kids’ involvement in activities, which are transportable. Swimming will move with us and is available in most communities. Lacrosse is not. Fencing is tough, but piano is doable. Soccer is probably 50/50, and ballet may or may not be an option. So I think through this every time one of the kids asks to be involved in something. I want and hope for them each to find a “thing,” which they can take and have with them wherever we may go. An interest that will carry them not only through our moves and be a consistent element, but also through the difficult middle and high school years, which are broaching so quickly now.
I know life happens with even the best laid plans, so I approach this effort with a certain level of “fatedness,” but still, all I can do is try. I mean, I‘ll do damn near anything … once I got past my ego, it wasn’t so bad last weekend. And circles are kind of nice. You get a chance to look at things from a different perspective with every go 'round.