From:  Inspired Parenting International
Found: Wednesday July 12th, 2006 A.D.
Title:   Simming with My Clothes On!

Swimming with My Clothes On!
By Elaine Williams

Last Fall I took two of my granddaughters camping for a weekend. My youngest daughter's wedding was over and this, the following weekend, would be a chance to relax and chill out.  We went to a campground we are all familiar with in Algonac, Michigan. It's a pretty place, the camp sites are among tall Sycamore and Pine trees.  The Huron River passes in front of the State Park and its serenity attracts both butterflies and people.

I thought the weather would be chilly based on the weather forecast, so I told my daughter to skip the bathing suits and have my granddaughters pack heavier clothes for themselves.  September is tricky in can be warm as the summertime or blustery like November.

Friday and Saturday of this particular week-end was beautiful. It was sunny and warm, with just a perfect breeze - the refreshing kind!  We visited an 1800's pioneer/Indian encampment on the campgrounds, which was an unexpected surprise. As the noon sun arrived my granddaughters were getting warm, so we decided to go over to the small beach along the Huron River where the breezes would be cooler.  They played in the sand while I lost myself in the reverie of the sun, the water, the trees, and the breeze that joined and circled us.  I love when the elements come together in one place; it is always a peak experience!

My granddaughters ventured close to the water, just to get their toes wet.  They were very carefully rolling their pant legs up, when suddenly I heard myself say,  "Why don't you just go into the water with your clothes on!"  They looked at me, their faces betraying both glee and trepidation, and said, "What about our clothes?"  I told them we could hang them over
the campfire, not to worry!  Shelby, who is 10 years old now, rolled her pants up higher, as if she could stand in the middle of the crossroads between "wet but dry," "rules or daring"!  Megan, who is 5 years old, was less cautious but watched what her older sister would do very carefully.

I urged them farther into the water, reassuring them it was okay. Suddenly, they reached that "tipping point," where we throw abandon to the wind and embrace the risk. I am not sure I can adequately capture in words the joy, the glee, the freedom they felt as they played in the water, relishing how wet they were with their clothes on!

I thought to myself, "What a sweet, yet, simple moment this is!" How wonderful it would be if we all could create such moments on a more frequent basis.  I began thinking about what stops us?  I realized immediately that part of the deliciousness of the moment was that we were breaking a rule - we do not swim with our clothes on. But why not?

Is the need for orderliness greater than the need for spontaneity and playfulness? Is the mild inconvenience of washing and drying the clothes too great a price to pay for an experience with wild abandon?  Is figuring out how to deal with the sand and wet clothes as we re-enter the car to drive back to the camp site of higher import than the release of Shelby and Megan's lighthearted spirits?

So deep in thought was I, that it took a few splashes of the water from Megan to re-direct my conscious attention back to my granddaughters. We all walk around with so many self-limiting beliefs and unfortunately, as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, and mentors, we pass these on to our children who will dutifully pass them on to their children.

I consider it my duty as a grandmother and mother to disrupt my own self-limiting beliefs to offer, both to myself and my children and grandchildren, sweet, yet, simple moments of life.  These moments I realize are pure joy! They are not necessarily tidy and orderly, but we will know them because they elevate our spirits and deepen our connection to each other.

For these moments to occur, we will need to make some functional adjustments to our daily life: we will need to create a pause in our busyness; we will need to give ourselves a break from our mindset rules; we will need a hiatus from our need to be practical and logical; and most of all, we will need to consciously value the needs of our spirits at least as much as we value the needs of our mind.

Great rewards await us all, so let's begin...

Copyright © 2003 Elaine K. Williams. All rights reserved worldwide.


About The Author ...
Elaine is the mother to three grown daughters, and grandmother to three granddaughters.  She considers her parenting role the most important of the many roles she has experienced in life and grandparenting the most fun and creative role.

For the last 5 years Elaine has been a trainer for the Corporation for National Services,

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