It’s one of those California mornings when the sun is shining but it’s slightly chilly so you need a light sweater. We are walking along a breaker. The calm bay is on one side, and the untethered ocean on the other. The rocks are mostly wide, but I am wary of how to navigate from one to the next. My husband and two teens are not wary at all.
“Just trust your next step, mom,” my seventeen-year-old son offers. And then without missing a beat, “It’s a metaphor for life.”
He comes to join me but is in complete bewilderment. How I can possibly be afraid of walking on rocks that he is traversing like a gazelle? He is not worried about falling or twisting an ankle or really anything about this walk atop the shimmering ocean. My legs don’t seem to want to take me farther. I feel more unsure of my steps the longer I stand on the rocks. I am truly unable to walk another step.
Fear has taken hold and I decide that right where I am is the perfect place for us to stop and take in this magnificent view. They kindly agree to join me and we all just plop down to watch the water hitting the boulders below us. My husband notices that not too far out in the water there are two massive rocks that look like they were once joined. We all agree and can imagine they once fit together perfectly.
Another metaphor for life, but this one not as noticeable to my son. My husband and I have weathered many years of life together. I’ve now been with him longer than I haven’t. There were moments we struggled with finances, with distance while I toured the country with a theatre company, with infertility scares. So many ways for marriages and families to come apart. But we did not. Our rock stayed together.
My family sits with me on the rock that I wanted to sit on, even though they could have all walked out on the breaker much further. My daughter points out, “I saw an old lady doing it, mom. I’m sure you could too.” I’m grateful they don’t push for me to change how I feel. They know I have been brave other times. Other breakers I navigated when I didn’t allow fear to stop me.
We sit right where I made it to and watch the waves hit below, feeling the sun on our cheeks. Chatting. Another day I may walk out further. But for this day, I am right where I want to be.