As a young girl, my favorite vacation game involved a swimming pool.
Again. Again. Again.
He never missed. And I knew that. I jumped with the surety of someone who knows she is totally protected. Completely safe.
I was scared of the water. Fearful of going under. But I knew Dad’s promise was solid.
As I look around me, in my middle age, I am surrounded by people who still just want to be caught.
Plenty of marriages implode in one’s mid-forties. Friends, coworkers, neighbors. Plenty still plugging away, too, toward that silver anniversary.
The difference, really?
Or should I say, knowing you will be caught.
When you get that big promotion and the sharks are circling as you try to prove yourself for the first six months. Only the sharks get the better of you.
When your routine trip to the doctor turns into a 12-month cancer ordeal in which you wretch, go bald and cry.
When your child turns to cutting, drugs or suicidal thoughts.
And sometimes, it’s not so dramatic.
You want to be caught on your fat days and loved anyway.
On the days you have nothing new to say, no witty banter to offer, no stunning repartee.
Most of us never outgrow the desire for surety. Knowing that our partner is solid in the face of unemployment, tough kids, a boring Wednesday night, the cute blonde at work.
Those of us for whom the fairy tale did not work out recognize that surety can seem an elusive desire.
But it does not have to be.
I see it in couples around me. It is not always pretty. Sometimes it is testy. Or demanding. Or blind to its own faults.
But it stays. Holds our hand.
Catches us as we jump in joy, fall in failure, leap in loving awareness that there is a net. Arms will encircle us.
And we will not go under.
To say “catch me” and know we will be caught?
Why, some call that Heaven.
And others just call it love.