My family and I spent last week on Cherry Grove Beach in South Carolina, where I quickly forgot that I am 41-years-old. Apparently. My 16-year-old daughter, Laurel, and I enthusiastically picked out skimboards on Day 2, bought them, and were determined to be skimboarding by the end of the week. Then, we went straight to the beach. Where we kept sliding right off our skimboards. My husband, Mark, who’s from Florida, said, “Uh, did y’all wax those boards?” We just blinked at him.
Mark kindly went to buy wax while I set about researching the how to’s of skimboarding (how to stay alive, how to stay out of the ER, how to keep all of one’s teeth, etc.). Every article I read and every video I watched was quick to point out the #1 rule of skimboarding: “You’re gonna fall.”
Fall I did. Over and over. So many times that I began to feel as though I was singlehandedly putting on the TV show Wipeout for everybody on the beach. Even so, I kept trying.
On Day 3, it occurred to me that I don’t know many moms who would suddenly take up skimboarding along with their teenage kids. I said as much to Laurel. She said, “I don’t know ANY. You’re the coolest.” Proudly, I picked up my skimboard and headed for the water. Two minutes later, I sailed up through the air and landed heavily on my back. Laurel came to see if I was okay. Still lying flat on my back, laughing, I said, “It’s a good thing you think I’m the coolest . . . because I’m definitely NOT the smartest–there’s a reason none of the other moms out here are skimboarding . . . and it’s a GOOD reason.” Laurel and I laughed and laughed. Then, finally, I said, “Well, I guess we’d better see if I can still walk.”
I decided to relish my ability to walk a little longer–and take a break from skimboarding. As I sat down, Laurel said, “Remember the #1 rule–you’re gonna fall.” I nodded. And then I thought about how this is a very good rule. In skimboarding, in writing, and in life, you’re gonna fall–it’s just part of the process. But you don’t have to stay down. I don’t. I keep right on coming. And yeah, the people on the beach laugh at me, just like some people laughed at me for wanting to be a writer–and having the audacity to believe it possible. And I am a silly girl. But this silly (bumped, bruised, scraped and scratched up) girl has a lot of fun skimboarding, writing, and living.