Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's Like Riding a Bicycle

Cade returned from a camping trip with the Boy Scouts, recently, and told me he'd learned to canoe. Now, I hadn't canoed since before he was born, but--back in my days of Girl Scouting--canoeing was my deal above anything else. As a Junior Counselor, I'd taught younger campers to canoe. I'd even gone on a two-week Wider Opportunity to Oklahoma, once, oriented around canoeing. I should canoe with Cade, I thought. Surely, it would be like riding a bicycle: it would all come flooding back.

I asked Jim if he would keep the girls so Cade and I could canoe at Bear Creek Lake. The idea of my canoeing disturbed Jim. "You're pregnant," he reminded me. "What if you slip and fall? What if you capsize the canoe?"

"I know how to canoe," I told him, "and--if worse comes to worse--Cade and I know how to swim. And we'll be wearing life jackets." It took several such conversations, but, at last, I convinced Jim.

Saturday morning, in the parking lot next to Bear Creek Lake, Cade asked: "Mom, are you sure you want to take your camera? It'll get ruined if we capsize the canoe."

"Cade," I said. "My camera will be fine. We're not going to capsize the canoe!"

One of my former sixth graders was manning the boat house. She eyed me warily when I told her we wanted a canoe. "Really?" she asked. "A canoe?"

"Yes, yes," I answered. "A canoe. We'll be fine."

A little while later, we were finally underway. I wanted to explore the south side of the lake first, I told Cade, because it's the part we can't see as frequent visitors to the beach. The shoreline of this part of the lake is especially jagged, so we could canoe out into several narrow, shallow areas.

This made Cade a nervous wreck. "Mom, I think we should go back," he would say. I heard: "You're not going to be able to turn around," and, "You're going to get us stuck," and, "You're going to
capsize the canoe."

None of these things happened, and we finished with very little water in the bottom of the canoe. I think Cade would've actually had a good time if he'd been wearing regular shorts. (He complained incessantly that the mesh in his swim shorts was hurting his butt and making it itch. He'll be irritated with me for blogging as much, but there's not much he can do about it; he's at Boy Scout camp. Bet you any amount of money he won't boat in swim shorts.)

I was sharing this story with my girl Christy, earlier, and she said: "I didn't know you could canoe." She's been one of my closest friends for almost a decade.

Which goes to my very point. No one knows me like I know myself, and no one knows you like you know yourself.

Sometimes, we have to push through other people's doubt, fears, and reservations and get on with our bad selves. I know, for me, the rewards are especially sweet when I've been my only cheerleader.

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