Thursday, May 08, 2008

Impulsivity versus Sponaneity: Sometimes You Just Gotta Jump In

I resisted the urge recently to push dear nephew Graham into a hotel swimming pool as he was standing at the edge. But I remembered having the same urge several decades ago when my brother David, Graham's dad, was standing on a boat dock one October, looking out over Turkeyfoot Lake. In a dark and evil moment, my sister and I pushed him in, fully clothed. That was in another millennium, of course and by now I have more control over dark impulses, most of them anyway.

So Graham went running and jumping in of his own accord.

And I photographed. And reported on the size of the splash. Yes, it came over and hit me and my book. Yes, this was higher than the last one. Yes, you are one awesome run-and-jumper.

Graham going under. Confident that he'll emerge. Hoping, hoping. . .

There are bubbles down there. Bubbles are a sign of life. He will emerge, quite confident of that, quite confident.

On the second day of this running and jumping in the pool, after I figured that another 30 minutes of this dilly-dallying would be quite enough, Graham was interested in learning to glide from one side of the pool to the other, then adding a flutter kick, then adding an arm stroke. And it dawned on me that this little swimming instruction would be lots easier if I were in the water. Except that my swimming suit was in another time zone, far, far away. Not to worry though.

He won't be 12 forever, I told myself. Here he is, right on the cusp of that adolescent growth spurt. It was time to make a splash and make a memory.

Hey Graham, I think I'm going to jump in there and swim with you.

After all, we had the pool to ourselves that Sunday afternoon.

And so I did, clothes and all. The look on his face was priceless - sheer delight mixed with absolute disbelief.

So we we had a few swimming lessons crammed into one, diving for quarters being his favorite. Thirty minutes came and went. At least an hour later, we were ready to drag ourselves back to the hotel room.

Later I was thinking about all that and how atypical that was of me, to just jump into something that hadn't been on the agenda. So what was that - impulsivity or spontaneity? At this stage, I'm not quite sure and it probably doesn't matter. We got wet, had so much fun and made memories. Best of all, there was no one there to take photographs.

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