Riptides: Battered, Bruised, and Still Standing

A few weeks ago my family and I went to the Outer Banks for my nephew’s wedding. The first day, I took my twins and my niece to the beach. But before I let them near the water, I gave them my lecture on riptides. How they were dangerous (blah, blah) and how they could pull you out to sea (blah, blah). Since it was high tide by the time we got to the beach, I made them stand in the surf. In spite of their moans and complaints about how mean and unreasonable I was being, they ended up spending hours beating back higher-than-normal waves even though they never went deeper than than their knees. To read more, please join me at Blame it on the Muse or click here: 

While I sat on the beach huddled beneath the umbrella and SP 70+ sunscreen, they faced the wild waves with screams and laughs. Every time they landed on their butts, they ran back to me on the beach squealing for help. When I declined to leave the safety of my shade (I was, after all, the meanest mom on the planet) they ran right back into the water. This went on for over an hour while I followed their fun with my camera.

Then I noticed something. As the kids got more and more tired, they began to reach for each other. Until, finally, they only faced the waves hand-in-hand. They’d finally discovered that they were stronger when they held onto each other. Not only did they have a better chance of not being smacked down, their recovery after being knocked over by the waves was much faster and much more fun.

As I watched them, I took the enormous step of leaving my shade. It had taken them only an hour to discover what most writers I know (myself included) take years to realize. We are all stronger when we stand together–when we celebrate each others’ successes and encourage each other during periods of despair. As the kids ran and kicked and played–all while holding hands–they reminded me that while perseverance helps you make it through, friendship keeps you upright and fighting. When wave after wave of rejections, bad reviews, and disappointments hit, we may fall. But those of us lucky enough to have friends will always find a reached-out hand to help us up.

At the end of the day, exhausted, beat up, and dealing with sand in places where sand should not be, all the kids talked about was doing it again tomorrow. In spite of choking on salty water, toes cut on shells, and the occasional face-plants, they focused on how they would change their strategy to face the largest waves and remain standing. Then they said the most amazing thing. “We hope there’s a riptide tomorrow!”

What riptides do you face? And what helps you remain standing?

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