Thursday, July 17, 2008


I learned today that Mom is gutsy. I guess I had known that before, but I re-remembered when the insides of my thighs were chaffing away on the yellow vinyl of the Sea-Doo seat and I was barely staying on as we sped across the water. Water, in this instance, is relative. I felt like we were airborne most of the time and touched down briefly to lap up a bit of wetness before lifting off again.

I am not gutsy, but it is one thing that I wish I were. People tell me that I’m good at everything and I think that they know as well as I that it simply isn’t true. I believe that most people are capable of being good at most things, though usually no one cares enough to try. I try hard at most things. But in instances like today, when I almost tip a Sea-Doo or screamed as one started up while I’m climbing on the back, I remember that I’m not brave or gutsy. But Mom is. Was she always that way? Is there something about getting married or maybe having kids that makes a person as fearless as she? Could it be the number of survived car accidents or all the instances when something bad that could have happened didn’t? Or maybe it was in the moments that something treacherous did befall her and she rose to the occasion and put on another layer of courage?

I’m reading a book and the protagonist just met someone who catalogs everyone he meets. He writes their name and a boiled-down, one-word description of them on a note card before filing it away. If I had a note card for Mom, it very well might read:

Mom: Gutsy

Even though I was numb after, I loved riding as the third of three. We bounced in unison one after the next, Mom, LilLou, and then me, and hit wave after wave at top speed. Lou’s curly fringe would catch the wind in ways that if I sat just close enough, it would tickle the tip of my nose. I didn’t tell her, but it make me smile every time. I watched as Mom’s strong arms would muscle the machine left, then right, then left again in a seemingly orchestrated performance of driving proficiency, and her hair would blow back like puppy ears. I wish I could have watched her face. She loves it down here.

Our day ended with white capped water made dark by the impending storm. Soon enough we found ourselves trying to get back to shore before we were tossed in a monsoon and left for some slowly evolving, deep-sea version of a carp (my greatest fear) to devour us. The water slammed up against the sides of the boat and sent it’s iciest bits to slap our faces. It was wet in all the worst ways. But because I was with Fresin none of it seemed to matter. Between her faces and my laughter, we forgot about how cold it was, and that if we did happened to blow into the waves we’d be eaten by a carp with eyes the size of yoga balls fashioned neatly on its body the size of a small school bus. The size of its eyes are only rivaled by the enormity of its gaping mouth which would be lined with six inch fangs. Basically, it could swallow me whole, but it would score me like a cucumber as I slid down its gullet. Scary.

Lucky for me (unlucky for the carp) I got to shore after jumping of the bow of the boat and swimming to shore. I could feel the sand grinding on my skin and soon, coupled with rain, it was forming muddy trails down my face, arms and legs. I watched them conjoin and diverge as the little redish-brown paths met the sand after tipping off the sides of my feet.

I grabbed everything I could and helped untie the shade while the wind started an erosion process with bits of sand in our ears. We piled heaving bodies covered in red mud into the Landcruiser and heaped clothes, towels, books, bags, and other things on top of them. I was the last one in. Everything felt gritty, but in a good way. In a raw, wild, I’m-here-to-be-here sort of way. And I felt a little bit gutsy.

1 comment:

medicus said...

Gutsy is a great word for your mom! This post shed some new light on her personality though. I was thinking gutsy for braving high school kids and advanced mathematics everyday. I didn't know your mom was an extreme sports champion. Go Sister Crosland!

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