Flight. Fleeing. My instinct to flee has created some family stories that do not always paint me in the best light. These three stories are not my finest hour, but better to own them and #laughalongandlearn.
1) We are in Hawaii. Balmy, beautiful Maui. I have a new swimsuit with a detachable skirt to hide my blinding white, slightly doughy thighs and butt. It is not long before Scott and the older girls are in the waves, “bobbing.” I am not sure if “bobbing” is a thing, but basically, they are way out in the rollers, uniform and gentle waves, just floating
My oldest, college aged daughter comes back to get me, “it is fun!” 9-year-old Gracie will have nothing to do with it. She is on the shore building a sand castle. I join Sarah, we hold hands and head toward the others. The problem is, to get to the area where they are “bobbing,” you have to go through the surf.
We are still holding hands, doing great and getting pretty far out when suddenly a really, really big roller heads towards us. I hear my husband yell, “Duck!” I turn. And run. TRY to run. Then I hear my husband yell, “Don’t run! Go Under!!”
So of course…I run. I ran. And I don’t let go of Sarah’s hand. She runs. We only get a few steps before we are pummeled from behind, knocked, tossed, tumbled. It seems to go on forever. Eventually we are deposited on the shore, the tide pulls back and there I am laying on wet sand, face down, modest little skirt up around my head. I see Sarah sitting up – – hair over her face. Her super cute Hollister bathing top, purchased that morning, is down around her waist.
“Sarah,” I choke, spitting sand out of my mouth, “Your swim suit. Fix your swim suit!”
I look to the shore, Gracie plays on in the sun and sand, a few sunbathers look away, clearly embarrassed for us both. I am not sure, but I think I hear someone clapping.
In the end I never did go “bobbing.” And sand? Sand was everywhere. I washed sand out of my hair for weeks, it was in the fabric of my swimsuit and it took three washings before it all came out.
For the rest of our vacation I played with Gracie on the shore, and swam only in the pool.
2) When the girls were little, we were in Jamestown. It was rainy. Dark, ominous clouds were rolling in, pending thunderstorm coming. However, we wanted to go see…. Well shoot. I cannot think what we were going to see. A boat? In any case we were on a trail on our way to the shore. It was a park of some kind and an announcement came over the intercom stating that “There was Lightning and all visitors must return to the visitor’s center immediately.”
To this day Scott gives me grief because I had spent the entire vacation at a leisurely, “window shopping” pace, driving him crazy – but when that announcement came I left them in the dust. I ran. Ran to the visitor’s center and never looked back.
3) My old school had a pool that offered water aerobics. Because it was right there I signed up for it. The bulk of the class consisted of older women- somewhat feeble, people recovering from surgery, some with bad knees or mobility problems and there was myself and another teacher – both of us generally healthy and fit.
During class one day I smelled smoke. We all smelled smoke. It was getting stronger and then someone spotted flames licking up over the back deck – I FLEW out of that pool and into the locker room. I threw my dress over my swimsuit, grabbed up an armload of possessions from my lockers and booked down the cedar steps. I ran. There I stood. Safe and sound. I watched up the steps, sure to see the crowd right on my heels. I waited. And waited.
Eventually out they hobbled, Lynn had one old lady on each arm, the others supported each other as they slowly descended the stairs.
Yeah, I realized, I could have helped them.
So yes, my instinct is to flee. To take take flight, but in case you think fleeing is all bad, I can assure you it comes in handy every now and then. Like the time the camp-stove blew up at my parent’s cabin and I ran. I ran and got an extinguisher at a nearby cabin. Or when the neighbor’s house was on fire and I ran. I ran and called the fire department. Or when the dog tried to jump over the fence and got her paw caught, I ran, I ran and untangled her. No, not always bad.