When we were expecting, we signed up for a class on childbirth like any good couple, but I was pretty skeptical... from the stories I'd heard from friends who'd walked the childbirth plank before me, it seemed pretty clear that there was planning, and then there was what actually happened, often with a yawning chasm between the two.
Still, a few words of wisdom from that class resonated with me. One of the pieces of advice that I took to heart was something like this: "Childbirth is an intensely physical event; you need to think about it as you would preparing to run a marathon."
I'd always loved swimming, but the idea of being "in training" for the big event inspired me to greater levels of physical commitment than I'd ever made before. I swam almost every day in the months leading up to D's birth. And because the pool we belong to is within walking distance of our house, everyone in the neighborhood could see me waddling my way down to put in my daily laps.
Taking on the challenge of becoming more physically fit seemed less like a choice than a gift; I wanted to do this for me, and for our son. Now that I'm a parent, the other ways in which I see that experience shaping me run along similar lines; I'm doing things differently because I am inspired to try to model the very best version of my self that I can muster.
This past week saw me catching waves at Marconi Beach on Cape Cod. My almost six year-old son and his friend watched me stride past with my boogie board with the most incredulous looks... a MOM with a boogie board?! Once I rode my first big wave in, they transformed themselves into a miniature cheering section, chanting my name and whooping it up as I roared into shore. The water was 53 degrees, but I was warm all over.
Here's to heightened expectations... and occasionally living up to them.