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Playing in the Waves with My Daughter

Jumping a Wave

Originally uploaded by Christopher Long


She is uncertain, but brave and increasingly confident. The waves are not huge, but to her six-year-old self, they must be daunting. Even so, we venture out, her to test her courage, me to support her effort.

They come in rhythm, the waves.

We call the easy ones “rollies” as my Mom called them with me and her dad with her. The bigger ones we eye with concern, deciding if they will require a lift from me or if she can negotiate them herself.

She has recently learned to hold her breath under water, a great advantage for this game, yet a cunning one as it can lead to overconfidence.

We roll with the waves. As each one rises, she teaches me something of her growing ability to navigate the world. 

At first, she requires constant contact, holding my hand and reaching for me as the waves approach. Slowly, but more quickly than I anticipate, she ventures further away. She grows in confidence, yet remains always within reach.

I learn my job: to be present to her, to the oncoming waves, and to the moment; to lend a little courage, to praise a wave well ridden, to hold and lift when necessary.

Floating with her in the waves, an intricate dialogue emerges between us as we learn by touch and talk and silence who we are and how we are to be together.

One Comment

  • Janet Filing says:

    Yes, lovely heartwarming and ongoing this dialogic in motion/emotion/progression and I am there. Here there then now future past the rhythm of lives lived. Mom

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