I got on a paddle board for the first time just about a year ago. It was thrilling. Something I’ve wanted to do since the first time I saw it. With my daughter and husband along side we headed out, kneeling in the middle of our boards, paddles in hand.
I watched as my daughter successfully made the transition from kneeling to standing. I watched in amazement as my husband did the same. With all the courage I could muster, I leaned forward, squatted, and stood. Instantly, my legs became Slinky legs and the board trembled. After a few short minutes of watching the board vibrate in the water, I knelt back down and decided that kneeling was just as good as standing.
On my second time out, I mentioned to the young woman who was setting us up that I couldn’t stand – but that kneeling was just as much fun.
“No,” she sweetly said, “that won’t do. Tell me again how it felt.”
I told her of the Slinky legs and the tremors. “But kneeling is great! I’m OK with it.”
“No,” she said again. “The reason your legs are doing that is because they’ve never done this before. You don’t have any muscle memory.”
I leaned in, trusting that she was going to tell me how to create muscle memory for something I’ve never done. After all, kneeling was fun, but it wasn’t paddle boarding.
“Here’s what we’re going to do.” (Yes! Please! Let’s do something!!!) “I’m going to give you the widest board we have. When you get out, away from the rocks, I want you to stand up, kneel down, stand up, kneel down, stand up, kneel down; at least 5 times. By that fifth time, you’re muscles will remember what they are to do.”
It worked. The Slinky legs became rubber legs that became stick legs and finally paddle boarding legs. I had created muscle memory and I was a paddle boarder.
These past two days, I accompanied my daughter to LA for a few doctor appointments for my grand daughter. There have been many, too many, doctor appointments in Emery’s short six years in this world. We have lots of memories; and I’m sorry to say, many are not pleasant.
“It’s time to make new memories,” I told my daughter when I offered to accompany them. “We’re going to make this a girls night out in LA!”
I’ll admit, as we started out, my level of excitement was less than explosive. The four hour drive was uneventful. Entering LA Children’s Hospital took courage. “Muscle memory,” I kept repeating. “All those old memories can leave, this is a new day, a new experience.” I repeated those words as I walked to the front desk. With my visitor sticker in place, I walked toward Imaging, taking deep breaths and exhaling bad memories, sad memories, hopeless memories. They left my body like billows of black smoke.
An hour later and the Slinky legs became rubber legs that became stick legs, and finally we were having a girls night out in LA!! – that just happened to start at the Children’s Hospital. Another appointment. Tossing the Kush Ball in the courtyard. McDonald’s play ground which was full of water, but that didn’t stop the fun. Dinner with an good friend. Jumping on the kingsize bed in the hotel. Watching the Micky Mouse Clubhouse in our nighties. Eating pancakes. Walking on the pier. Driving to the next appointment. Reading the Eye Chart and having lunch two blocks off the beach.
We made new memories, good memories. We had to kneel down and stand up many times but eventually we were paddle boarding.
After all, kneeling might be ok for some, but it’s just not good enough anymore.
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