It is the first week of summer and I watch my boy perched on the edge of the pool during his swimming lesson.  The instructor has him hold his hands in front of his mouth so that he can feel the air as he breathes-out.  When she brings my boy to me after the lesson today, the instructor notes the importance of focusing on breathing techniques.  The reason my boy is afraid to go underwater is that he doesn’t know how to breathe-out when he puts his face in the water.  While he has come a long ways from the trembling 4-year old clutching our necks with white knuckles each and every time we entered the water together, now, at 8 years old, he struggles to conquer this last step, again.

My boy is perfectly content to paddle around holding onto his lime green noodle, head sticking-out of the water like a turtle; however, we know that he needs to become a proficient swimmer for his own safety.  Each year,  he takes to the water with a little more ease and excitement.  And each year, come time for swimming lessons, my boy faces his fears and learns to put his face in the water all over again.

I admire my boy’s perseverance.  It seems that I, too, have to learn how to “breathe” again each summer.  I have to learn how to breathe amidst the loud all day talking, the drama of being “bored” and the unbridled energy filling the air.  I suppose we all have to learn how to breathe again.  To find a new rhythm in living and breathing together during these hot summer months.

Admittedly, I have floundered through these first days of summer.  A fish out of water.  Trying to strike a balance between planned activities and down-time that fits the needs of both my boy and girl, at least most of the time.  And, as I struggle to breathe again, I find myself returning to the lessons I have been learning over the past several years.  I pay attention to the rhythm of the knife chopping lettuce for a simple salad.  I notice the colors in the soap bubbles as I wash the pots and pans.  When my boy and girl read after lunch, I open my copy of In Celebration of Simplicity and remember the joy of slowing-down and living lightly.  And, in doing these things, I find myself learning to breathe all over again.

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