When I was younger, I would sometimes go to the public pool in my hometown. A grand pool it was not, but it did have a rather terrifying high dive and deep end. I’m sure that if I saw the pool today the high dive would not seem so high and the deep end would not appear so deep — but at the time, both were scary. Along with all the other kids my age, I would occasionally test my bravery out by choosing to climb the tall ladder to the platform and then linger at its edge with my toes curled over. Once you climbed the ladder, there was no turning back. Too many eyes were upon you. Too much was on the line. You had to jump… the only question was how long it would take you to build up the courage.
I’m past my due date and much like little ten year old me, I find myself standing at the edge of the high dive with all eyes upon me. Everyone asks, “Now when were you due again?” and “What? No baby yet?!” Everyone has advice. “Have you tried castor oil?” “I hear that you can get that baby out doing the same thing that put it there!”
I am teetering on the edge. There is no turning back even if I wanted to. The only way out is down…Overlooking the water, I’m not sure I can manage the deep end below. It will involve treading water at a pace I’ve never accomplished before… But you know, it’s got to beat just standing here at the end of high dive with all eyes upon me.
When I was a kid, when I jumped was entirely up to me. Sometimes I stood there, full of anticipation and fear for what seemed like an eternity. Other times, I would just barely finish the climb only to sprint to the end and jump before the fear could creep in. Either way though, I made the decision when to leap.
Now, the decision to jump isn’t mine. It belongs to this little being inside of me. I don’t know what rhyme or reason it has for delaying my descent into the deep waters below, but I know that I’m tired of waiting. The anticipation is killing me. The comments and stares are killing me. Thoughts of how cold and cruel the waters below might end up being are killing me. I know there is a very real possibility that I won’t be able to handle this particular deep end and that I’ll need a life preserver to pull me to safety. At this point though, that’s a risk I’m willing to face because I cannot just stand here on the edge with all eyes upon me any longer. It is maddening.
But stand here I will because the jump is not my call. I hope I’m allowed to jump before I go mad entirely. And I hope that when I do jump, I don’t drown. In the meantime though, I have made a vow to never, ever stare and gawk at the overdue woman on the platform waiting to jump. I now know that she’s creeping towards the edge and those deep, scary waters just as fast as she can… so I’ll let her have a bit of breathing room before the water below overtakes her.
So for now, I’ll just stand here and breathe.
Breathe in… breathe out…
Breathe in… breathe out…