A day of rest.
I sat serenely on a plastic lounge chair under the gigantic canvas awning at our neighborhood community pool this afternoon. I sat believing that I was enjoying a moment of rest and so I took up my pen and wrote about how my expectations for said moment are always so different from reality.
This is what I wrote:
“A day of rest always sounds idyllic. My expectations, however, always seem to outshine my experience and I constantly wish I could will away the expectations which are causing the direct ruin of a restful moment by their intercession that the moment is not good enough. To feel rested – what does it mean really? For me, this moment is always ridden with guilt at my unproductive self who is happily dismissing the daily grind and so putting myself and possibly my family at risk of becoming laden with further chores later on. If I could find a restful spot, what would it look like?
Sitting and just listening to the enormous silence of a cool breeze shaking the leaves above me.
The summer sun warming my skin while my toes dig into the hot sand looking for a cooler spot, for water, for life – rooting into the earth.
Almond oil chapstick: sweet and smooth.
Distant laughter and happy screams.
Alone, but not lonely.
Time standing still – moments to ponder and reflect. To breathe in the world around me and question without being questioned. Secure in my inquisitive self and happy to be answer-less.
Floating on the wind that is pushing the clouds along.”
…And then my friends, my small reverie was finished. Barely a page into my reflection, my darling 6 year old was marched over to me by a lifeguard. This lifeguard informed me in her 16 year-old “I’m not given any authority until I am here-but at this pool I am God” voice that I had misread the rules. That my daughter – who is allowed to jump off the high dive into a 13 foot pool- is not allowed to swim outside arms reach of her adult. In this case – her only adult is me, the girl who did not wear her bathing suit to the pool today because I wanted to sit and be quiet and let my kids just be kids.
Oh rules, why are you made for breaking?
I spent the rest of my time at the pool attempting to entertain my distraught girl who only wanted to play with her sister in the pool; Who did not want to sit close to the edge in the water where I could reach her. We played hang man. We played tic-tac-toe. I assured her that the lifeguard is not mean and is really just doing her job. The lifeguard, after all, did not make the rules and so cannot be held accountable – this is me attempting to teach my children “don’t shoot the messenger” while I internally seethe at the inability of teenagers to be discerning and know that a child who can walk in a pool, who is sitting in the shallow end, not gasping for air, able to swim back and forth, able to jump off a high dive -is at much less risk of drowning in a pool teaming with lifeguards than the 1 year old whose mom is sitting on the side of the pool attached to her freaking cell phone.
This is why I should not let my expectations ruin my moments friends – moments of rest are fleeting and often go unnoticed -as do moments that I get to spend with my little people who still like to play hang-man with made up words.
Cherish your moments -restful and not – and Sleep well.