Lap One: The Toy and the Survivor

There’s something we can take away from each day of our lives. Some kind of story to tell. If you keep a sharp focus on what the people around you are saying, something funny or inspiring might jump out at you. If you go into each day searching for a story, your perspective on the day changes. The story doesn’t have to be this grand, silver-lining type of story. Something small and subtle is just fine. The trick is to take ordinary moments in your life and find the humor in them. For instance:

The other day, me and my mom were playing phone tag. After many calls back and forth, I finally got through to her, only to find out that she wasn’t the person I was playing phone tag with. It was my little sister, Nevaeh. She was expecting us to go swimming, like we agreed upon. Not only did she not forget, she tried calling me five times so I wouldn’t forget. This was apparently a big deal to her.

That’s one scene from that day. I challenge myself to take a small moment and pull as much detail as possible from it. This causes me to have a better focus in the moment, and actually be present to recall those small details.

When I walked up to the swimming pool, Nevaeh was already waiting for me. She was playing with a toy that was meant to be thrown around in the pool; it had enough weight in it so that after throwing it, it would sink to the bottom of the pool. Nevaeh held her breathe and dove underwater to get it.

I told her that I was about to do some laps around the pool because it’s good exercise. She agreed and wanted to join me. The pool was long and setup for swimmers who swam fast and for long periods of time. This inspired me. Even though I’m not a good swimmer, I swam as fast as I could to the other side (which probably wasn’t that fast at all), and once I reached the wall, I looked back and waited for Nevaeh. She wasn’t even halfway there yet—even though we started around the same time—but she had a proud and confident look on her face. Speed wasn’t her challenge, but swimming all the way to the other side was. After several breaks to catch her breathe, she finally made it to the other side. I gave her a high-five, and took off to the other side. Lap one was almost done. Nevaeh followed.

Once my lap was complete, I waited for her again. This time, though, she didn’t take any breaks. It took her twice as long, but she was determined not to stop. Almost there. I reached my hand out and pulled her in. She did it. She was out of breathe, and I thought about how good this was for her, and maybe we can start doing this more often. A good bonding moment for both of us, which will also keep us in shape.

The thought of this motivated me. I told her how good she was doing, and it’s time for lap two. She looked at me like the person in the movie that takes one for the team, and tells the other person to just go, and save yourself. Nevaeh spit the water out of her mouth, attempted to catch her breathe, and replied, You go. I’m gonna wait for you right here and play with my toy until you get back.”


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