Discover more from FIELD NOTES
Time is a sculptor ⌛
Letting go by just letting it happen. ✨
There weren’t many beaches on Caye Caulker, Belize, when we visited back in 2015. But there was a small one outside a resort that we basically poached so that we could sit somewhere comfortable and play in the sand with our two-year-old, Maya. We had three weeks on the car-free island and toured around quite blissfully on bicycles, with Maya sitting in a seat affixed to the back of my bike. We visited that small beach almost daily, especially right at sunset. After the sun went down we’d cycle through the warm evening breeze back to our apartment.
One day, towards the end of the trip, I was alone with Maya at the beach. Suddenly, with no explanation, she ran into the ocean. I mean full speed, no trepidation; she just ran straight into the sea. The shoreline was shallow but I wasn’t sure where it dropped off. I acted quickly and waded in, fully clothed, to scoop her out of the salty, seaweed-filled water.
All was well in the end. There were some tears, mostly due to the shock and the saltiness, and then some laughter as I recounted the story to Paul later. But to this day, I still can’t totally figure out what compelled her to do that. Impulsivity, perhaps.
The moment stuck with me for a long time. When we went to the grand beaches of the Big Island (Hawaii), where the surf is strong and winds pick up quickly, I supervised Maya like her life depended on it, because it did. It was the same story on other trips near the ocean. Pre-parenthood I was anxious around water. Adding a kid in the mix put me on a constant edge when we were near the ocean or a pool.
Fast-forward about six years. Last weekend, we took the kids to a hotel in Calgary to do something different over Canadian Thanksgiving. The hotel had a pool, and we had every intention of using it as much as possible. The girls were stoked. We have limited access to a pool here in Banff and ever since our trip to Sámara, Costa Rica, last October, where we swam in the ocean and in a pool every single day, they’ve been yearning to swim more.
Maya, now 9, learned to swim on her own on that trip. Watching her dive below the surface was a test of my own will, trust, nerve.
At the hotel on Thanksgiving this year, we played in the big pool all together and I even impressed them with my seven-second speed run down the twisty waterslide. (I’ve got to say, no other moms were on that thing!) Later, there was a moment where Paul was supervising Léa and Maya was doing laps on the slide. I sank into the hot tub, about 15 metres away, and watched Maya for a while. I knew she didn’t need me at arm’s length but it was a habit I had a hard time shaking.
But then something happened — something good. I noticed I wasn’t watching anymore. I was “watching with my ears” as many parents are trained to do, but my gaze was elsewhere, my thoughts wandering as I relaxed in the hot tub. I was no longer watching like a hawk. I wasn’t picturing that two-year-old dashing into the ocean off Belize.
Somewhere along the way, I had let go of my fears. It took many years, and I’m still hyper-vigilant with my four-year-old, but with time, and as Maya grew older and more capable, I began to trust more. This wasn’t something I did consciously or even all that voluntarily. But it’s an example of how life can work in curious ways.
I think if I’d been consciously trying not to be scared, I would have been even more scared. Being scared had served a purpose. And when I didn’t need to be so careful around water anymore, it wasn’t me who decided; I just suddenly wasn’t.
Is that making any sense to you? Is there anything in your life that changed — a fear, a perspective, opinion, or even belief — and it just kind of happened?
Time truly is a healer, but it can also be a sculptor. It changes us. There are many forces at work, of course. And sometimes our job is just to let it happen.
Let it go by just letting it happen.
👋 Not yet a subscriber? Field Notes is free to subscribe to and get right in your inbox. For those who are able to invest in my writing with their dollars, I also offer a paid subscription, with extra perks, at just $6/month or $65/year. 🙏
What’s caught my attention lately… ✨
The Love Prescription - I haven’t yet picked up Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman’s latest book, but I have listened to several episodes with them on Unlocking Us. The Gottman Institute takes a data and research-based approach to helping people nurture healthy relationships. Their latest book provides couples with seven actions they can take to cultivate more intimacy, connection and joy. Listen to Episode 1/3 and Episode 2/3 on Unlocking Us for a great overview of their approach.
Check these out too… 🙌
My Email Newsletter - Updates about my books, projects, and 1:1 coaching.
Lights to Guide Me Home - Out now! Please consider leaving a review on Amazon.
Lights to Guide Me Home ✨ is now available!
Find all the order options, press, and upcoming events on my website.
Are you on Goodreads? If so, please consider adding Lights to Guide Me Home to a shelf!