I was placed on a patched up quilt under the big blue umbrella after tackling my first wave.
I picked at the edges while sucking my thumb. The sun was warm and I could see each member of my family.
My father bobbed carefree and alone reclined in a wave.He was white like a beluga, but not traveling anywhere just drifting, like a piece of wood.
My mother standing in the shallows, hands on hips posed, her feet seemingly stuck in wet sand.
My sister reading with her back turned, cast a long shadow beside me.
I was just shy of turning one, and yet I felt something was wrong.
In retrospect this image was the metaphor for my family life.
My father chose to float on a steady tide of cheap whiskey. My mother just grew angry waiting for him to either drown or wash away, incensed at keeping him afloat between drinks. My sister chose various modes of departure to escape, resolved to leave me in her wake.
I became a lifeguard to not only save others but myself.
I was only one and yet I had been alerted to my family obstacles.
It took years for me to come to grips with all those waves shallows and shadows.
I had to trust that I was born into my family for a reason.
I have experience of navigating those waves that makes me have faith in myself.