It started simply enough: with doe eyes and a grin. An innocent, spirited, ear-to-ear grin.
“Mommy?” my daughter whispered.
“Can we go to the pool? Pleeeeeeease.” She dragged out the word for what seemed like forever. Like she was suspended in time.
Of course, the first thing I did was check the weather, because this mama doesn’t swim when it’s cold. But the forecast said it would be a nice day. A warm day. The perfect pool day.
“Sure thing,” I told her.
And so, before long, we were getting dressed. Before long, we were all suited up.
As soon as we got to the pool, my daughter was off. She shed her shirt and flip-flops in seconds and bounded toward the shallow end. But before heading in, she turned back and said, “Mommy, see me? Watch me. Come play with me!”
“Okay,” I told her. “I’ll be right there.”
Because I would be. I didn’t want to disappoint. I set our beach bag down and laid out our towels. I kicked my shoes off and slathered an inordinate amount of sunscreen on my pasty limbs and then I jumped in. Like, literally jumped in.
Because there are two types of people in this world: those get their hair wet and those who don’t. And me? Well, I definitely fall into the former category.
I jump first and ask questions later.
Don’t get me wrong: There’s nothing wrong with sitting in the pool or wading in the water. There’s nothing wrong with lounging on your towel or relaxing with a good book, either. Or with having a “no splashing” rule. (I mean, sometimes you need to protect your cut, your color, or your do.)
But me? When I have the time to play — when my daughter asks me to play — I play. Hair be damned, I’m gonna play.
Because I want to enjoy life, because I want to live my best life, and because I want to be an active part of my daughter’s life.
All day, every day.
You see, when I think back on my own childhood — when I remember the pool days or trips to the beach — one thing is missing from my memory: the women in my family. That’s right; every single one.
My mom didn’t know how to swim, and still doesn’t know how. I don’t recall ever seeing my grandmother swim, either; and while I do have memories with my Nana in the water, mainly in motel and hotel pools, the truth is she never really went in much herself. She did twists and leg lifts and other water-robics, but she always did them from the shallow end.
I don’t want to be the parent on the outskirts or the one lingering in my daughter’s periphery. I don’t want to be that “missing figure” or memory she can’t quite recall. And if that means I have to literally get my hair wet sometimes, then so be it. I’ll jump right on in.
But getting your hair wet is more than just an action, if you ask me — it’s a mantra. It’s an attitude; a way of life. A loose, laid back, and spontaneous way of life. And when you get your hair wet, life just seems looser.
Everything seems lighter and easier.
So remember, while you may be worried about your appearance in the moment — while you may be worried about your thick thighs, your muffin top, and/or your messy hair — your kids aren’t thinking about these things. Years from now, your kids won’t even remember them; and neither will you. Instead, you will both remember the things you did. The games you played. The fun you had, and the amazing memories you made.
You will both remember the light, the life, the smiles, and the laughs.
So don’t waste your life sitting on the sidelines, mamas. Don’t waste your life fretting or worrying or living in fear.Live your life. Embrace your life. And please — get that hair wet.
Trust me, it feels amazing.