When I was growing up, my family spent most of summer (and some of spring and autumn too) out on the lake. I even had my own infant-sized life jacket. That’s how early it started.
I once read somewhere that families that go camping together are much closer than families who don’t. My family has only gone camping once, and let’s just say it’s not for us. We spent the night huddled together for warmth and crying. We all agree that we probably almost died and we’re never doing that again.
But that’s okay, we’re still very close. Waterskiing is our camping. We work as a team out on the boat. We fight the elements. We help each other and we teach each other. We make fond memories. See? It’s just like camping, only fun. And I mean it when I say we lived for this. We’d all wake up before the sun, even when my sisters and I were toddlers. It would be cold and dark, but the water was perfectly smooth. We’d ski all morning, then break for a big lunch/breakfast. We worked up a huge appetite, and the table was full to Thanksgiving levels. Eggs, sausage, potatoes, bacon, rolls, fruit, it was a feast. Then we’d take a nap. Then we’d head right back to the lake to swim and tube and maybe ski a little more if there weren’t too many jet skis tearing up the water. That pretty much sums up my childhood. I loved every second of it.
Then, somewhere between m growing up and the boat wearing out, we started going less and less. I got married, my sister and I moved away to college, and the boat got sadder and more broken every year. We still go out a couple of times a summer. It usually involves paddling the boat back to shore, and that somehow always happens in a storm. But this is family time. Nobody minds, and nobody would miss it for the world. In fact, this year there was one day we all probably should have just said no, but…
Nobody says no to a boating adventure. That’s why recently, when we were at my Aunt and Uncle’s new lake house, I went out on the boat even though my body was letting me know in every way possible that it was a bad, bad idea. Not only was I having a particularly bad chronic pain day, but I also had a little fever flu thing. I was so, SO sick. A lot sicker than usual. But it was fathers day, and by golly we were going to go skiing. How could I miss that?!
I took a ziploc baggie full of pain pills, cold and flu pills, and frankly any other pills I had lying around and popped them all day. And by sheer will I got through it. I even skied. And that made it all worth it. I think this was the first time my husband had ever seen me ski. Of course, I was honest with him about how bad I felt, and told him not to expect much. I was sure I wouldn’t get up on my first try. Really I wasn’t sure I’d get up at all. The thought of fighting water and physics when I could barely see straight made me feel a bit faint. Heck, I was going to attempt to really use all my muscles in an EXTREME way – keeping in mind that since I’ve been sick, my “muscles” get most of their workout going up and down stairs every now and then.
But you know what? I got up. On my first try.
I could see my husband on the boat and his face was priceless. Pure shock and awe. I felt like a superhero. I felt like I could do anything.
Then, of course, I went home and crashed. Hard. But that was fine. That happens, that’s life. The low was worth it for such a high.
Yeah, I probably made a few bad decisions in there. Yeah, it was risky and I could have gotten hurt. Yeah, I could stand to be more transparent with my parents and honest about days when I don’t feel well. But I can’t say it’s not nice to know that by sheer willpower I can do what everyone else does. I don’t look sick. I can fool people.
Betcha I even fooled you. I really, really didn’t feel like writing a post today. I’ve had a really hard week. I’ve done a lot of hard work. I haven’t been taking very good care of myself. Since getting fired, a lot has been thrown off track. A lot of good has come of it, but there’s an awful lot of bad. Today we got particularly bad news. It was looking like life was really starting to fall in to place for a second there, but financial troubles have foiled our plans once again.
I’m sad and I’m tired.
But while I was writing this, through sheer will, I even tricked myself into feeling a little better, briefly. I guess that’s the trick, isn’t it? You just have to will yourself to keep going.