Summer Slides into Fall

For those of you following my recent blog posts, you might have noticed there have been more than a few weeks of “not-so-good” topics:  from the loss of my Grandfather to last week’s hurricane, it’s been a hard summer – and it’s been difficult to find moments to put in the “good” pile against the plethora of life challenges I’ve faced in recent weeks.  I’m even referring  to those topics I’ve not been able to blog about yet because the subject-matter is still a bit too “hot” – stay tuned for those – I assure you, you won’t wanna miss out!

Thankfully, a much-needed “good” came this past weekend – where once again I got to work as Cantor-in-Residence during the final family camp session at Camp Nah-Jee-Wah in Milford, PA.

I really look forward to working family camp.  I relish marking the passage of summer seasons by how much my kids have grown, how many teeth they’ve lost and the increasing aquatic agility they show off with pride.  What made this past weekend so memorable was that these simple pleasures were enhanced because we were joined by my honey and his just -13 year old son.  Talk about togetherness!  Five of us in one large bunk that normally sleeps eighteen!

It’s safe to say I’ve been holding my breath, hoping for the ultimate satisfaction of seeing my kids come into their own in whatever way makes sense for them, and this weekend marked a wonderful milestone in that department for my daughter.

You see, for her, the camp water slide is the last frontier.  She believed she was the only child between the ages of 7-17 who had yet to successfully navigate what looked like a ton of fun – a large green water slide that sends riders catapulting into the designated section of the inviting lake buffered by a yellow floatation dock.

My daughter has always wanted to try the big slide but had yet to succeed.  The last family camp weekend I worked, she got very, very close to sliding into the winners circle, but after coaching, urging, cajoling, begging, she gave up, and descended back down the staircase dejected and self-defeated.  It didn’t help that her brother, two years younger, had, last year, mastered this contraption and was less than understanding over ‘what the big deal’ was.

But it was a big deal.  Not riding the water slide began to loom large in her legend as something she didn’t have the guts to do – something she felt shame over – and therefore something that served as a constant reminder that she just didn’t have what it takes to get it done, to succeed, to push past her fear.

“But this time it’s going to be different, Mama,” she said.  “This time I think I can do it.”

My honey and I stood at water’s edge cheering her ascent up the thirty steps to the platform.  Bracing herself at the edge, in the ready position, I made eye contact with her  giving her two thumbs up.  Encouraged by cheers from Shirley, the wonderfully wise Manchester UK bred Nah-Jee-Wah lake instructor, my son, honey, and a small gathering of kind hearted life guards, staff, campers and parents . . . we counted down… 3…2…1… and then . . . she let go.

Gaining momentum I swear my daughter was airborne in the blink of an eye and sailed right over the yellow balloon barrier before making an exultant splash into the warm lake water, inspiring the awe and appreciation of the older boys who had been trying to pull that stunt off all summer.

In the moment she resurfaced you have never seen as big a smile or heard as many loud cheers.  In that moment, for my sweet girl who could use a couple of easy wins, the world became a brighter, more beautiful place.  In that moment this child learned she could become her own best advocate, learned to face a huge fear and overcame a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

Long after this weekend’s summer sun sets, we who were privileged to witness my girl’s ride will remember her moment.   I know my daughter’s bravery and willingness to conquer her fears will more than inspire me, it will help alleviate my own.

So for all of us holding on to that one thing we can’t  seem to get past, let go of, or are unwilling to conquer I say think of this weekend, think of my ten-year old and go for it!  Isn’t going for it the reason we’re all here anyway?

2 Responses to Summer Slides into Fall
  1. Jenn Deutsch
    September 10, 2011 | 11:50 am

    Way to go sweet girl! You are special just like your mom! Shira hug and love and strength.

    • Diva-Mama
      September 11, 2011 | 5:58 pm

      Thank you Jenn. As always, kind comment – much appreciated.

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