Jumping Waves



Have you ever jumped waves? It requires an ocean (or a lake large enough to have tides). I hadn’t jumped waves for eons, so last week when Mister and I waded into Maui’s warm Pacific waters, I wasn’t sure I’d remember what to do. As it turned out, knowing how to jump waves is one of those things we just don’t forget.


We made our way out to a point where I could still stand. Once in a while Mister wandered out farther, as he’s taller than I. But mostly, we stayed together. When the waves were evenly spaced, we were able to predict when to jump, keeping our heads above the water. When the waves wanted to have a little fun with us, none of our predictions helped. We took buckets of water in the face, ears and nose. There was a lot of laughter, and we barely stopped smiling.


When jumping waves, one can either use the ocean floor to push off, or simply tread water. With strong enough legs, treading alone allows a gal to keep her head up as the waves roll by. I used both techniques to great success. Though I suppose the amount of sea water I took in my sinuses might suggest otherwise.


One day, a nearby snorkeler told us there was a giant sea turtle just beneath Mister’s feet (we were out a bit deeper that day). We tried and tried, but we never saw the turtle.


On another day, an older gentleman kept trying to coax his wife out into the waves with him. She resisted for quite a while, but finally gave in. The only sound louder than their shared laughter was our own.


Before this vacation (our first in years), I was so stressed out that I was starting to have physical reactions. Nervous ticks, twitches, spasms. I had been so focused on what I perceived as Mister’s need of a break and a chance to relax that I failed to notice my own desperate state. When I finally realized how frenzied I was, I stressed myself out further by fretting over how (or even if) I’d be able to let go and have fun. How was I going to relax? How was I going to trust that everything was okay?


On that very first morning of vacation, during our very first wave-jumping session, Mister reached out and pulled me close. I lifted my feet from the sandy ocean floor, and allowed him to support me and keep me afloat. As a giant wave rolled in our direction, he said, “It’s okay. I’ve got you.” Then he jumped and lifted me above the passing wave. I wasn’t alone and didn’t have to fear the world as it tumbled toward me. I was in Mister’s arms. As I looked at the shoreline, I could hear another approaching wave. I felt Mister pull me closer and I knew he’d time his jump perfectly. He had me. He really and truly did.

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