We had our inaugural swim in our pool today. The first of the season. Sure, the pool is still a bit cloudy, and it hasn't warmed up enough outside to take the edge off the water-to-air transition, but I was chomping at the bit. So in we went.
After the first gasping shock, my muscles started to unclench, the adrenaline subsided and left sweet dopamine in its place. The desert sun, still not too hot, smiled warmly down at us. Xander paddled out to me in his sister's pink floaties from last year, his blue lips stretched into a huge grin. Sophie sucked down an Otter Pop at the railing.
I kicked out from the shallow end and dove down towards the drain, feeling how good it was to move my body. My muscles stretched. My lungs ached with contained air. My arms and legs said, "Please and Thank you" to each other as they came together and apart, together and apart. And a burst of joy suddenly ran through my heart.
Here I was, a 30 year old wife and mother of two, frequenter of the superstore and wielder of the debit card. But in that weightless moment, as my body fell easily into old, habitual movements, I was 12 again and diving to the ocean floor to recover a handful of sand.
That's how it is to live TCK, rocking along my happy little path, when suddenly my Island self reaches across time and distance to grab my hand in sudden remembrance.
How do you deal with this schizophrenic self? I know some TCK's who push it so deeply down it pulls their authentic selves right down with it, and they live, shells of themselves. Some embrace it so radically that the only place they are able to fit in is with other TCK's. Some spend their lives searching to replicate the experiences of their childhood.
And me? I try to embrace each appearance of my Island self as a gift, and try not to allow the ache it brings with it to consume me.