Regular readers will know I recently visited a hydro park with Adam and Rebecca. What’s a hydro park? Well, think of a giant inflatable obstacle course and you’re close….situated in the middle of a reservoir. The kids loved it. Adam is fearless and launched himself off the highest points into the water without a thought for his own personal safety. Rebecca was more hesitant to begin but, by the end of the session was, swimming and sliding with the best of them.
As for me? Let’s just say I survived. I’m not a strong swimmer and had swallowed approximately half of the reservoir by the end of the hour long session. Fionnuala has extensive footage of me falling over and clinging to obstacles, that will never see the light of day. While purportedly there to look out for the kids I suffered the ignominy of being hauled out of the water by my 12 year old daughter while my wife cackled from afar, capturing the humiliation for future generations to gawk at.
I’d rather run a marathon any day of the week. The hydro park worked an entirely different set of muscles from what I’m used to and quickly confirmed what I’ve always suspected; my upper body strength is pathetic and when it comes to aquatic ability I have all the grace and technique of a hyper ventilating hippopotamus. I’ll be able to tell future generations I’ve done it, but will be in no hurry to repeat the experience. I’ll stick to terra firma in future.
The most bizarre event, however, occurred before I even dipped a toe in the water. When we went to collect our wetsuits the girl in charge of them eyed the three of us up and down before handing Rebecca a ‘small’ and Adam a ‘medium.’ Now our son is a big guy, taller and broader than me. Imagine my horror then when I was handed a ‘XXXL’ wetsuit. I looked at the girl in disbelief who smiled politely before turning her attention to the next customer.
I’m paranoid about my weight at the best of times. I lost a lot of weight when I started running six years ago and have an irrational fear of it all creeping back on again. I have a love-hate relationship with food at the best of times, despise getting my photograph taken and have a morbid fear of scales. The voice in my head rubbed its hands in glee as I trudged disconsolately off to the changing rooms. Was I really that huge?
The answer of course was no which was confirmed when I emerged several minutes later. You could have squeezed the offensive line of the Washington Redskins into the wetsuit and still had room for me. To the sounds of familial sniggers I waddled off to the safety talk with as much decorum as I could muster given the circumstances. Whenever you attend a hydro park, make sure to leave your ego at the front door.
Ah, ego. Years ago I did have a ‘XXXL’ ego which could have comfortably filled such a wetsuit. I would have huffed and flounced about, probably asked for a smaller size and ruined the occasion for everyone. Life, however, has a habit of kicking the pomp and haughtiness out of a person and I’m a perfect example. Being part of a loving family is all about teamwork and the emphasis is on ‘us’ as opposed to ‘me.’
I won’t say I’ve changed for I still have my moments, we all do. The difference now is that I quickly realise when I’m being a prat and take action to nip it in the bud. I’m chipping away at the old self, hoping to reveal the version of me underneath which was always there, just biding his time. He’s keen to break free and make up for lost time. He’s ‘XXXL’ on life and isn’t afraid to shout it from the rooftops.