This past weekend, my boyfriend Michael woke up to me immediately complaining about not participating in an annual run hosted by my town. One of many traditions off the table this year, I was missing that community feel that always went along with the day. The exercise I could make up; in fact, I already had.

Moving from the bed, Michael relegated himself to the floor to begin his own exercise while consoling me. “Hun,” he said. “Maybe you should set up a site to invite a community-wide, socially-distanced polar plunge for the upcoming holidays. That might make up for it.” He was joking. Regardless, my mind started working.

At the same time, my oldest daughter texted me. “Mom,” she wrote. By the end of reading her note, my heart sank. She and her boyfriend weren’t coming for dinner. There was a possibility that both might have Covid-19. I hadn’t seen her in weeks.

The collision of emotions was ‘all too much’ for me. Sadness, disappointment, rage, frustration…every last bit of them overwhelmed my normally understanding and rational demeanor. I didn’t know what to do nor where to go with the storm that was brewing inside me.

Turning to Michael, I blurted out, “Let’s do it!”

“Do what?” he replied.

“Let’s polar plunge.”

I think he thought I was joking.

I wasn’t, he’d quickly learn as I ushered him and two of my other five children into the truck, with towels and robes accompanying us. I needed a way to remind myself of the “joy of being alive.” There has been so much darkness and death in 2020. I couldn’t handle another minute of it. And, as I always wanted to find out if I would, indeed, stand tall in the face of a “polar plunge” or fall short, there was no time like the present to do so.

Heading to the beach, I cast myself into the forty degree water, followed closely behind by Michael and my children. No doubt, we all must have looked crazy to anyone who might have seen. Laugh, we did, however, with second plunges for all to boot.

As we piled back into the truck, each one of us marveled at what we had just done. I can’t even imagine what the Dunkin Donuts’ employee thought of Michael as he made his way inside at a local rest stop to retrieve coffee and donuts prior to our arrival home.

It made me ponder how “one man’s insanity is another man’s sanity” so to speak. Or his girlfriend’s, in this case.

The excitement and fun we had in doing something so unexpected and monumentally removed from our comfort zones, set the mood for the rest of the day. Everyone of us walked away knowing a bit more about ourselves and each other.

That said, there is no doubt, that Michael learned to be more careful with his suggestions in my presence. But then again, he was the first to propose we do it again in December. My kids? God knows…they know me by now. That blue cast across my body in the photo above will do little to deter me from hopping back in with him in thirty days time. No Christmas miracle needed; just a hot toddy thereafter, perhaps.

And my oldest daughter? She swears that she wouldn’t miss this ‘second go-around’ for the world…to take photos, that is.

It’s good to be ALIVE!