I vividly remember the summer I was finally able to touch the bottom of the deep end of swimming pool where we spent most of our childhood summer days. Ears popping, arms outstretched, legs kicking, I finally made contact with the bottom — 12 feet down. I was so proud of what I had accomplished. But, what I remember after that was thinking that I would never reach the surface before I ran out of breath.
Of course, I did — that first breath filling my lungs after breaking through the crystal blue surface seemed better than any other breath I’d ever breathed. That’s the way it is after a challenge. Things feel clearer, sweeter, and simpler.
This summer I find myself paddling hard and fast to reemerge from another challenge — a year of worry, uncertainty, discomfort, and stretching myself beyond what I thought I could accomplish. And now I’m longing for that first breath. I’m ready to breathe in some normalcy, some peace, some rest.
I’m ready to breathe in the moments of the here and now, and exhale the “what if’s” and the “not enough’s”.
I’m ready to savor a summer of simply being with my kids. Inhaling looser schedules, exhaling living by the calendar. Inhaling the smell of chlorine and sunscreen in their hair, exhaling daily temperature checks. Inhaling our days spent exploring new parks and playgrounds, exhaling carpool lines.
After what has felt like a year of holding my breath, I’m ready to exhale and embrace summer. Who knows, maybe this will be the summer that one of my kids is finally able to touch the bottom of the deep end of the swimming pool.