Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The butterfly effect

... a phrase that encapsulates the more technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory. Small variations of the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system. ... - Wikipedia

My boy woke up with a "severe" stomach ache on Monday morning. An ailment that I was expecting, as it was coincident with his first day of swimming lessons. It's something that I've become accustomed to. Firsts. Nerves will do it to him every time. Even though he is an amazing swimmer for his age, he has doubts about his abilities, and the nerves are bad enough that they manifest into a physical ache for him. It has resulted in screaming matches, crying fits, and outright defiance. Despite the fact that underneath it all, he knows he can do it.

This time, I was prepared with my pep talk. As I rubbed his back during his refusal to get out of bed, I told him how confident I was of him. I mentioned that it was just fine to be nervous, even though there wasn't anything he needed to worry about. It was normal that he was fearful of the unknown.

"What if the instructor's mean?"

"Well, I highly doubt he/she will be mean. All your instructors to date have been great teenagers..."

"But Mom, I can't keep a five pound brick up while treading for two minutes! It's so heavy! I haven't had swimming lessons for six months!"

"Well, they won't necessarily make you do that on the first day, they'll work you up to it. Don't worry, Mom and G will be watching and if you really can't handle it, just let the teacher know and I'll come get you. You can tell your teacher you haven't swam in six months and that you're rusty...did you want Mom to tell them?"

"No, don't you tell them, NOOOOO, don't!"

"I won't then. But no worries, even if you don't pass this time you've got four years to do it before you go onto the next level anyway. Give it a try, okay? It's just important that you keep your skills up, swimming is very important. And you can do it."

"Okay Mom."

My brave boy then combatted his fears, and tamed the butterflies that were wreaking havoc on his insides. He got out of bed and got ready for his lessons.

Later on at the pool, I saw him disappear into the water and resurface, dark goggles and teeth shining as he grinned from ear to ear. He was in fine form.


Over the last three weeks I've been enjoying some wonderful family time. An escape from a decision that has the potential to be lifestyle altering. Since I've been home, I've been living with some butterflies of my own. Knowing that I just had to push a button to release from "pause", the process toward becoming a full-time career mom.

As I sent the e:mail to my friend the head hunter, to notify him of my return to reality, it felt like I was flapping my own little butterfly wing.

Who knows what will happen next? I can only hope that it will be a positive turning point in my life, our lives. And that this forward motion will be toward some good chaos.

Can chaos be good?

Again, one can hope.


Huckdoll said...

First - I am so excited for you and your impending journey into the career mom role. It's almost as if we're switching roles in a way and I'm so looking forward to seeing you spread your wings in the career world. One day I'll be back there with you and we'll share our stories, but for now, I'm rooting the career woman on as I know you're rooting the SAHM on.

Second - You're son reminds me so much of myself at his age. One of my earliest memories was of being in 'the' premier figure skating league in this province. At the end of the program our teacher failed each and every one of us and it kind of stuck with me. I get that sick, anxious belly too when it comes time to do something I'm not so confident about.

You're the amazing, supportive mama I hope to be when my kids are doing all that stuff xo

Mrs4444 said...

Our chaos around here is pretty good, for the most part. No less, certainly than the normal chaos of everyday life :) Good luck-I hope you land the perfect job for you and your family :)

Badness Jones said...

It's scary when life moves on, and it just seems to speed up every year. I know you'll tackle whatever challenge meets you with style and grace, and emerge with your head up, grinning on the other side...just like your fabulous boy.

Ed said...

It's funny, but stress is motivational----to a degree.

It's those first steps that are the hardest to take.

Ginaagain said...

Yes chaos can be good. It is a raw energy force that can drive great change if it's harnessed. I have no doubt that you can harness it!

Kori said...

Take some deep breaths and trust that if this is right, you will know. And even though you might have the days where you wonder WTF was I thinking! if it is RIGHT for you, all will fall into place. You'll figure it out; I am as confident in your abilities as you are in your son's.

Anonymous said...

Liam, you are a warrior! I'm so proud of you!
Aunt Sue

Tara R. said...

Good for Liam! He must be so proud of himself.

Binkytowne said...

So you decided to jump in as well? I remember that we talked about this on the bus on the way back from Macys. Just remember deep breaths and one step at a time. Just like swimming lessons! Best of luck.

Tooj said...

I really think that chaos CAN be good for us. It forces us to find how to balance different things...and generally they're different everyday. After we practice balancing, we learn how to deal with the balls in the air each day. Next, we learn how to EXCEL with all the balls in the air, and we eventually learn how to manipulate the balls to return some gain to US. You'll juggle and you'll be fine. You'll end up excelling.

BusyDad said...

When I was young, I was dreadfully fearful of water. So everyday for all 3 months of summer camp I made my mom write a note that I had diarrhea so I couldn't swim. As an Asian kid, you sure can work lactose intolerance to your advantage! :)

And best of luck with your job hunt! You will kick ass!


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