Sunday, May 29, 2011

Life is Like That ...

I grew up living on a lake. From as early as I can remember, my dad taught me to skip stones--how to find good skipping stones, how to hold your wrist and fling it for the most amount of skips over the water, before it sinks in. To this day, when I see a nice flat stone, I think, "Now, that's a good skipping stone."

My son is six. I've tried teaching him to skip over the years, but he's never been able to get down the wrist movement. He tries really hard, but in the end, he clunks it into the water with a plop. But, you know ... he's six. No big deal. He's got plenty of time to learn.

Thing is, he gets really frustrated with himself. He wants to be able to skip those stones. He wants it really bad. He tries really hard. But since he's been trying, it just hasn't happened. A couple weeks ago in Germany, we were having a picnic near a stream, and there were lots of pebbles and stones. He was wading in the water and pulled up a nice flat stone the size of a small pancake.

Right away, I said, "That's a perfect skipping stone."

His eyes widened. He turned it over in his little hands, examining it. And then he gave it a good fling. That stone skipped at least six times across the surface. It seemed like slow motion--the way it danced across the placid stream in tiny splashes, then finally sunk to the bottom. My son's face was pure and simple joy. So poetic.

Of course, I cheered like any mom would. I was so proud, and it was such a great moment. He was proud too and had to make doubly sure I saw exactly what had happened. All that time, he'd been trying so hard to skip stones and it just wan't happening. Til the one day, he was relaxed and enjoying himself--happy and content--and not trying so hard. And it happened.

Life is like that, I think. Sometimes we just have to ease up on the reins ... stop trying so hard to catch that butterfly, so that it comes and sits right on your shoulder.

Do you have any moments like that? Please share ...

51 comments:

Madeleine said...

Cute! As I was reading I thought: he should relax and enjoy it take three dep breaths and say 'I can do this' and it will happen. I used to do that when i was tackling a difficult sewing project.
Yay for your son and for you! :O)

Jessica Bell said...

When I got to the paragraph where you say your son's skipping was a success, my face lit up with the hugest smile!

That is such a wonderful little story and I think so true for many many other aspects of life.

This is so beautiful. I think you should write a flash fiction piece about it. Really.

And give your son a massive congratulatory hug from me!

Jessica Bell said...

I shared it on FB! https://www.facebook.com/author.j.bell/posts/214372151929320

Joe said...

My son is nine and went through the same thing with skipping stones. It seems like every new thing (Tae Kwon Do, reading, multiplication, snapping his fingers, catching a ball) from small to big works that way. As a Dad I find it hard to figure out what do say to him when he can't make it happen right away - especially when his friends can do it quicker than him. Practice and patience are hard concepts for a little boy in a world where fast is good and slow is bad. When he learns from simply being it is joyous to see. It's like his laugh - unforced, effortless, beautiful, filled with him.

KatieO said...

Wonderful story. My second son had developmental issues when he was younger, and struggled with each new physical thing. The proud look on his face when he would finally master something was always priceless.

Sophia Richardson said...

Between your post and Joe's comment I'm thinking I need to steal a child from somewhere. Totally heartwarming! Thanks for sharing, PK.
- Sophia.

Angeline said...

My Dad also taught me to skip stones when I was young and I, like you, always look out for good skipping stones by habit. When I have kids, they'll be taught how to do it too.

Old Kitty said...

Awwwww how adorable!!! I so agree - it's when the pressure is off is when I get to do things well!

Take care
x

RosieC said...

That's a beautiful moment. I lit up with a smile, too.

I think we all have those moments. The trouble is recognizing them ourselves for what they are. Sometimes it's hard to see the relaxed part of ourselves through the success. Thanks for the reminder to search for it. :)

Rosie
East for Green Eyes

Michelle Gregory said...

great post. life is always better when we relax. (i try to tell myself that as i'm in the midst of moving across the country.)

i think i've been here before when i went looking for the friends for the journey award. i'm now following, but not sure if it will show up.

Donna Hole said...

There was an aspect of our new software at work that was like that for me. One day it just worked, and I couldn't believe how easy it was.

I do that with some character plots too. They just escape me, and I'll spend countless sleepless nights trying to figure it out, staring at blank pages and deleting everything I write. Finally I'll move on to something else, and in the midst of another scene, the info will just fill itself in.

Yeah, life is like that :) This was a beautiful story PK. I'm proud of your son too. Thanks for sharing his moment with us.

.........dhole

DM said...

Truer words were never spoken.

T C Mckee said...

Omigosh this is the cutest thing. Nothing like the joy of seeing a child accomplish something. We can take lessons from them, for sure.

Regina said...

Yes, I agree. I think that the harder you try the worse the results, but if you just let it come to you then you are so much better off. I can't force myself to do things. I just have to be in the middle of something else and not thinking about it and then I get hit.

I think that was a wonderful moment for you and your son. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Jennifer Jackson said...

Very nice message to a warm post. I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day.

The Thumber said...

This brought back such wonderful memories of my grandfather. We used to summer at their cabin. Finding the perfect skipping stone was a part of our everyday walks on the beach. Unfortunately, I never was able to get more than 2-3 skips, but oh well. It was the precious time spent with him that really matters.

Thanks for sharing this.

Len L said...

Oh gosh, I am having goose bumps reading your post! I love this! :) It's true, skipping stones is like achieving something in life, isn't it? What a beautiful post, thank you! :)

William Kendall said...

Terrific story, PK!

I never got the hang of skipping stones myself....

Sarah said...

Of course! This is a perfect analogy for so many things in life. Thanks for sharing this sweet story!

Nas Dean said...

Thanks for sharing this inspirational story. I'm tweeting this.

erica and christy said...

What a sweet story. I remember long ago, when my dad would take us to get ice cream and then walk down to the lake and skip stones. Tomorrow is my son's birthday party at the lake, maybe we'll have to look for stones on the way!
erica

LTM said...

omg! I love this. I love how it's your dad to you, from you to your son! That is gorgeous. The passing of that tradition. *sniff* I just wanna hug you both. LOL! great work, mama~ <3

Stephen Tremp said...

We all need to step back at times and understand we're not in control. Maybe its meant to be this way. Great to include your dad in your post. Nicely done.

Mary said...

I grew up on a lake, too. This story brought back fine memories of my grandfather teaching me to skip stones.

Girl Friday said...

Aw, that's a lovely story. I remember spending hours as a child trying to whistle. I could never do it. Then when I was older, someone taught me how to wolf whistle. Still makes me grin when I do it :D

Tracy said...

Wait, so you're saying less is more?!?

All kidding aside, truer words have never been spoken. congrats to your son for learning what it means to succeed at something he wants to accomplish...and to you for being a patient mom. I might have not let my kid continue wasting perfectly good skipping stones. ;o)

Misha said...

This is such a sweet post! I agree with you. We sometimes try so hard and think so hard and over-analyse when all that's needed is just to be.

That's an art in itself, though.

:-)

Norma Beishir said...

I love this, PK! It's been a long time since my son was that young, but the memories are still clear. Thank you for sharing!

Catherine Stine said...

Sweet story! Nothing like those landmark moments for a proud mom. I have two sons, and I know the feeling.

Zertuzzi said...

i enjoyed it very much mmmm

Barbara Kloss said...

I love this post! Such a great story, and analogy to life. This is a great reminder--sometimes our minds just get in the way. But all that trying and working was necessary to appreciate things when they work out.

I'm proud of your little boy, too! Skipping stones isn't easy :D Oftentimes I'm like Hagrid when he throws the boulder in the lake with a cah-THUNK.

Michael Di Gesu said...

That was a beautiful story PK. Children really do light up our lives. It's simple joys like this one that make life so wonderful!

It sort of happened that way for me with writing. Once I learned the basic grammar and punctuation the words began to flow....

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