When The Big Wave Comes

Water crashing on cement pier

When my first son was born we lived in California. This was a big deal for me because I’m from west Texas and in west Texas there is a limited amount of water and trees. We have lakes, but they’re small and the only trees to be found are the ones you plant. So when we moved to California and were close to the Pacific coast I would go out there all the time. When my son was born we would go out to watch the sun rise and many days would go back out to watch the sun set.

There is an accepted truth in that part of the country. I’m not sure if it’s factual or just folk lore but there is a common belief that every seventh wave that comes off the ocean is a big wave. As my son learned to walk and enjoy the ocean we would count the waves. As the seventh wave would get closer he would kneel down so he wouldn’t be over-powered by the water and knocked over. Because he is my son, I thought this proved that he was just brilliant. He knew that all he needed to do was lower his center of gravity and those waves wouldn’t be able to knock him down. I realized after a while that it was easier for me to stay upright if I followed his lead. So, with each seventh wave we would both kneel down and wait for it to pass. After the wave would pass we would stand back up and go on our merry way.

It didn’t dawn on me that he had taught me a tremendous life lesson until I was in my forties and had weathered some big waves in my life that had nearly knocked me over.

I realized then that the best way to survive the really big waves is to just kneel down.

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