Tag Archives: paddle

PADDLE! Tandem in Marriage

6 Jun
mGZjwY2

Marriage is a lot like paddling in a tandem kayak.

newyears_dec_2002 013

“Daddy’s yellow boat” offered my husband a solitary escape to tranquility.

Not long after my daughter was born, my husband took up kayaking. There was a major problem, however: the kayak had only one seat. This was intentional. The early months and years of parenthood are enough to make any semi-sane person develop cartoon blood-shot swirly eyes if they can’t ever get away from the diapers and screaming.

Nevertheless, I protested the single sit-inside-style boat. After all, as a new mother I was the one who had the greater demands on my time, I argued. Being affectionately dubbed by hubby as “the cafeteria,” I was forced to stay open 24/7 including nights, weekends and bank holidays feeding and caring for our new tiny roommate. At the time, I was also working full-time. If I couldn’t escape for a relaxing half-day paddle through a Florida mangrove, why should he?

Now that we are in our seventeenth year of marriage, a lot has changed for both Michael and me, including my narrow views on kayaking.

  • Everyone needs to paddle on their own sometimes. In retrospect, my husband really needed that time alone. I, too, needed alone time and independent interests (which the Chicks have helped me honor), but instead of carving these out for myself then, it was easier to try to keep him from doing so for himself. Graciously allowing it for him meant acknowledging my own needs, which as new moms we all tend to minimize. That said…
  • The lure of lush Hawaiian islands to be reached and explored stayed in our sights as we paddled out to sea in tandem.

    The lure of lush Hawaiian islands to be reached and explored stayed in our sights as we paddled out to sea in tandem.

    Marriage works best in tandem. When baby was old enough to be left with grandma, Michael first coaxed me out into a tandem kayak during a trip in Hawaii. There was something very satisfying about paddling together, in the same direction, toward a common landmark. If you want to turn in the same direction, both rowers must communicate. Otherwise you’ll either go in circles or get driven by the current.

  • You rest; I’ll paddle. Forging through powerful Pacific waves, my arms screamed at me to stop. That’s the beauty of a tandem kayak. You can take a break to rest on your oars while your partner keeps paddling. Other times, you need to let them rest while you work harder to keep the vessel moving forward, or at least not too far backwards or off course. There is no score card. We’re each doing the best we can at any point in time. So if one rower feels they need to rest, the stronger one must keep paddling for them both. It’s harder, yes, but it doesn’t last forever. Each rower finds strength at different times, and no rower can–or should–paddle without breaks. The important thing to remember is…

    IMG_0570

    Behind each smiling photo of a married couple are struggles. Two people row together and in turn to get through a sea of challenges from family and work to health and emotions.

  • We’re still in the same boat. We may be struggling, individually or together, but we’re in this together. If we get turned over, we’ll tread water and get back in. We’ll keep paddling until, eventually, we reach land. Even if it’s not the idyllic island we intended, we’ll both be glad for the shared break on a sandy beach.

I hope you enjoyed the Chicks’ month of PADDLE! And to committed couples everywhere: happy paddling!

For the rest of June, come DIVE! with us into summer.

Advertisements

PADDLE! Through the Rapids

29 May
The Lot River - much bigger and slower than the one we paddled

The Lot River – much bigger and slower than the one we paddled

Years ago, I went on a vacation with my mom. (Hi, Mom!)  We visited my aunt and uncle in France.  I loved everything about France – the art, the architecture, the wine. *sigh*  But my favorite memory is of the day we went canoeing in the countryside near my aunt and uncle’s house.  We put in on a river named the Cele.  My French was rusty and I quite forgot that cele means “swift” in French.  So you can guess where this is going…

Yes, there were some rapids along that river, and yes, my mom and I ended up in the icy cold water once.  But I learned something: when you head into rapids and your heart is beating like crazy and all you want is to put on the brakes, you actually have to do the complete opposite of what your instincts tell you to do.  You have to PADDLE!  As hard as you can.  The faster you go, the better. You get on top of that current and you ride it.  It’s the only way to make it through.  And you know what? It feels awesome!  Now, of all the many things I love, love, love about France, paddling down the Cele tops the list.

So now that I’m in the midst of end-of-school activities with the kids, my work projects are heating up, and I’m preparing for a long family vacation, I can’t slow down.  In fact, I’ve got to paddle hard and fast and conquer that current.  And, I’ve got to keep writing. So far, it’s working.  I’ve written about 5000 words on a couple different projects, completed a chapter book, have queries out and I’m going on a writing retreat soon.  Instead of fighting it, I’m going to enjoy the ride.  C’mon, PADDLE with me!

May Power Word: PADDLE!

1 May

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAImagine yourself in your own personal boat on a long winding river. Like others around you, before you and behind you, you want to move through the waters of your creative project, right?

You could just float on the surface and see what happens. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, you might be carried somewhere downstream, where most people end up. Or you might drift sideways back to the bank not far from where you started. Then you could just stay still out in the middle and wait, hoping that those nearby alligators don’t decide you look like lunch.

But NO! You are not like most people, my friend. You are strong. And you are one of my creative Chicks! That’s why this month I, the Muse, want  you to muster your strength and power ahead.  I want you to PADDLE!

Whether the waters are still where you are now or full of currents trying to pull you backwards, I want you to propel yourself forward.  Only then can you view the dramatic waterfall instead of plunge down it. Stroke by stroke, push your creative muscles. Even when you’re tired and soreespecially thenjust keep paddling!

%d bloggers like this: