Do you remember the first time you played leap frog? I’m betting you were you a kid, still being measured more in terms of months and star stickers than in pounds and inches or tax brackets and degrees. I don’t actually remember my first time. But I know there must have been one.
I hope I was laughing for that first time. Hell knows I haven’t always laughed for all the other first times in my life. My first flat tire, my first “C”, my first cavity, my first tax return, my first delivery, my first gray hair, and so on.
You sure pile up a mess of firsts while living life. A whole mess of leaps that unlike playing leap frog out on the playground most likely don’t have a clear obstacle and definite landing spot. Those sorts of leaps have a dearth of laughter involved in them. This is a shame, in my opinion.
Back when I turned 40, I got a tattoo. It’s my Chinese zodiac and most folks accept that as good enough reason to get a tattoo. Obviously it rates above any tattoo acquisition process that starts with, “well, we’d been out drinking and….”
Sometime folks question how much I must believe in the Chinese zodiac seeing as how I got my sign inked on my back. They seem to be a bit sad to find that I don’t particularly. But “Monkey” was/is my dad’s nickname for me and that tidbit usually makes them smile and say, “Ah, I see. Sweet.”
Except that’s not why I chose it. I have monkey permanently inked on my back as a nod to the hanumanasana. To remind me of the importance of taking a leap of faith, a leap of greater challenge that may require no more faith than playing leap frog out on the school playground. Or a leap that might take everything a body has to give.
My leaps of faith have never been based on a faith in a higher power or religious figure. Mine are leaps of faith in myself.
Leaps of faith like going to college. Not dating a certain boy. Dating a certain boy. Backpacking across western Europe. Taking the toughest professors. Getting another degree. Choosing to not self-harm. Saying yes. They all were moments where I had faith in myself to make the best decision for myself. They were all moments when I chose to live more fully and laugh more freely. Moments when I talked myself into walking to the precipice, take a deep breath, and then force myself to leap.
Funny how taking those leaps of faith aren’t relegated to a certain period of life. They shouldn’t be at least.
Last Friday Littlest and I stopped at our library. Littlest ran ahead and proceeded to “parkour” on the concrete wall. More than anything I wanted to make him stop, get down from the wall, and walk carefully down the sidewalk. In spite of how much he was laughing, all I could do was think of what could go wrong. “Stop leaping!” my fearful mom-voice shouted inside my head.
Thankfully my mouth managed to keep itself shut.
What a gift children are, reminding us to take a leap if for no other reason than to feel the rush of both adrenaline and wind as your body is airborne.
Have faith in what comes next. Take a leap and spread your arms in preparation for soaring!
Take a leap and laugh!