Ryan and I are both pretty laid back people. At the start of our relationship, neither of us worried much. We both enjoyed high-thrill activities. We were both passionate and deep in our own individual ways. And we were both go-for-it type people.
We had one baby, then two, three, four and five. By the time our fifth baby was born, I felt paralyzed by the responsibility of raising our kids. I loved having five small children and I loved the responsibility, but still, deep down I was terrified of not being able to adequately give my kids all they needed plus my dreams of giving them so much more. I wasn’t even sure I could physically protect that many small humans. And that really terrified me.
Swimming is something I loved as a child. I was a fish, and I swam all summer every summer. Getting 5+ non-swimmers around water can bring on a full blown panic attack, though. We put our kids in swim lessons summer after summer, but we’d rarely go practice or just swim for fun. We felt so outnumbered watching our kids in or around water. By the time we had ten children, I thought it’d be a true miracle if we could ever enjoy anything in the water.
Several months ago, a determination came over me. We found a great swim teacher for our kids. We were willing to pay month after month after month for swim lessons. We had nine kids in lessons for over 5 months, up until the week we left Texas for our RV adventure.
This week we were given 10 free passes to swim at the community center near our RV park. In the past, we would have politely declined. This time we went for it, and we had such a great time.
We are still happily and unapologetically overprotective. We still counted the kids 1,000+ times. But my heart didn’t race. Not once.
Bravely got in the pool for the first time, and she absolutely loved it.
This moment had seemed so far off; it was awesome to live it in the now.
We aren’t ready for any swimming parties. We aren’t ready for a major water park. We aren’t ready for swimming surrounded by tons of other kids. Those may be awhile. BUT we have made it out beyond the shore.
People ask, “What drew you to this lifestyle of full-time RVing?” That is a loaded answer. Part of that answer is this. Venturing out beyond the shore.
We will still be our overprotective selves. We will not take risks that we feel could endanger our children in any way. We will have bumps and bruises and ER trips – no matter where we live. We’ve had our fair share thus far, for sure.
In fact, we had an ER trip the night before last. Our two oldest daughters decided to flip over each other for fun in an enclosed slide on a plain old playground. One hit her head. Hours later she was dizzy and vomiting. It was determined she had a mild concussion. This could have happened in our backyard when we lived in a house. I hate those things, but they just happen.
We want our kids to be wise, protective and not overly risk-taking. We, also, want our kids to live life, to push past fear, to dream and to actually do. We want them to dive in deep. To move beyond the shore.
And we want to dive in deep. To move beyond the shore.
I get told fairly often that I’m a brave woman, mostly when people see me surrounded by our ten children. I am a woman like any other, wife like any other and mom like any other. I don’t feel all that brave, and I completely cower at times. My confidence is in God. He is the only one who makes me brave. He is the one who calls me beyond the shore and into the waves. He is all that is brave within me.
May you venture out beyond the shore in your life. May you experience the beauty of the deep. May bravery be ignited in your soul.