July 26, 2007

Just Like Riding A Bike

You must do the things you think you cannot do.
-Eleanor Roosevelt
When I was 18, and fresh out of high school, I went on a once in a lifetime trip to Europe with one of my best friends. While on a whirlwind, 24 hour, stop in Paris, we were able to make it to the Eiffel Tower. This petrified of heights girl, managed to ride the glass elevator to the top without squealing for her momma. Once at the top though, I was completely satisfied to stay inside the observation booth. Secure in glass and steel. Bek however, walked freely around the top and out to the edge to enjoy the amazing view. The fact that nothing but a simple
chain link fence
separated her and certain death did not seem to phase her in the slightest.

I'll admit a bit jealousy. To be free of fear, and not feel like gravity itself is conspiring to pull you over the edge, would be amazing.

Once she enjoyed her little tour, she came into the booth and goaded taunted dared encouraged me to walk out around the outer deck. I'm not sure how she did it. We were a little old for double dog dares, but somehow she threw down the gauntlet, and I was not going to let her win. I slipped out the door, plastered myself against the wall (several feet from the edge) and inched my way around to the other side.

I didn't carry home any Eiffel Tower snowglobes or miniatures from that trip, there was no need. The memory itself is the treasure. For many people up there that day, they simply enjoyed the view. I, however, enjoyed a sense of accomplishment that has carried with me years later.

Yesterday I was faced with a similar choice. But this time, I'm a long way from 18, and it wasn't my best friend teasing me. Instead, it was looking into the serious eyes of my seven year old when she realized mommy was scared.

We're on vacation this week (thus the lack of postage going on here). Yesterday we spent most of the day at a children's science center. As soon as we walked through the door, and she saw the incredible sky bike hanging 2 stories up, she was hooked. "I wanna do THAT!" We made our way up there, and for some crazy reason, I thought I'd do it with her. I mean really, it's a science center. They have things like physics and Newton to support why it all works.

So first she hopped on, and rode like a pro.

You can imagine where this little story is leading. Approximately 15 seconds after I hopped on, and was strapped in, I hopped right back off mumbling "I can't, I just can't". Nuh, uh. Nope. No Way was I going out there on that thing. The friendly operator tried to help me, but he was no Bek. "Just go out a little bit ... there's a net under you. It's perfectly safe."

No dice.

We moved on, visited the planetarium, ate lunch, and explored some more. All the while, it's gnawing at me.


I decided I'd go for it again, but once I finally mustered up the courage, the exhibit had temporarily closed. I determined that if it opened again before we left, I'd do it. I wanted my daughter to see me face my fears and I wanted to walk away with no regrets. 3:30 That was the next opening. We walked around finishing up and it was almost time. I looked up and a small line had started to form. This was it, I'm going for it. I marched off to the elevator. I can do this! Behind me I heard "Mom! Hold on! I'm going with you." Hand in hand, we got in line.

She went first, "so I can show you how to do it, mom." Such a sacrificial girl she is. wink. I'm sure there wasn't any self-serving motivation in that. ahem. And then I was up. "I'm gonna do it this time." I told the operator who had helped me before. "I know you don't believe me, but I will." He didn't say a word. He didn't crack a smile. He just buckled me in, and stood back. Slowly I backed out of the stall, stopping each time I felt it tip in the slightest. Palms sweaty. Stomach knotted. Somewhere below I heard Ben and my mother-in-law cheering me on, but there was NO WAY I was going to look down at them. About a fourth of the way across, I felt I had accomplished enough of my goal, and headed back. I pulled back in, took the first real breath I'd taken in the last couple of minutes, and said "I did it!" The operator smiled big and said, "That was a lot farther than last time." Practically skipping down the stairs to my beaming seven year old, I threw my arms around her. By the smiles from some in the crowd around us, it was clear they understood that this had been a bit difficult for me. I stopped short of kissing the ground. I figured I had humiliated myself enough for one day.

And with that, we headed home. Once again, I left with no regrets and a sense of self-satisfaction. But this time I also left with a life lesson for my daughter as well as some video evidence. Enjoy. :D

July 13, 2007

Four your birthday

It seems as if I've known you my whole life. That you've always been here. Smiling with your head cocked to one side, telling me a silly story that always ends with your big beautiful eyes popping into saucers just to emphasize your point. That there's always been a little blonde pixie in our home to sing and dance for us. I guess it feels like that, because, like your sisters, you were always in God's plan for our family, and so you fit as if you've always been around.

But you've only been a part of our lives for four years.

Looking back, I think that God sent you to help us smile. You came right smack dab in the middle of a difficult period of our lives. But the happy little baby, and the giggly little girl that you became, was a physical reminder of God's deep abiding love for us, and made clear that ALL things truly do indeed work together for good. Very, very good.

You are a performer to the core! Recently, your Sunday school teachers put up a list in your class of all the things that you and your friends wanted to be when you grow up. You were the only Rock Star in a group of mostly Princesses and Spidermen. And you informed us that when you are a Rock Star you will be singing on the stage with your daddy. It would please me to no end to see you up there with your hero. (we just need to help you understand the slight difference between a Rock Star and what your daddy does ... but we'll get there some day.)

This summer our church held a special VBS just for kids your age. It was called SBO jr. and you loved it. It was also the first time you would get to perform on the stage on Sunday with the other kids. True to your nature, you woke up every morning that week, and said "Mom, Is TODAY the day I get to sing on the stage?!?" I haven't the foggiest notion of where you get such performance tendencies. ;-)

You are a diva through and through. You have 4x as many purses and sunglasses as your mother, and you prefer your wedge sandals over any other shoes. Not to mention, you go around singing a little tune that I think you made up that says "I like Fa-shion!"

You are smart, loving and sweet. You are kind to your little sister (most of the time), and you're pretty sure that your older sister is the coolest kid in the world. But I've got a secret for you, I think she's got a bit of competition in that department from you.

Happy Birthday baby! Thanks for all the smiles, hugs and laughter. You help make our family complete!

July 3, 2007

I'm Easily Amused

As part of the whirlwind-memory-making tour with grandma this past week, we visited an amusement park.

I think I can honestly say that the five other families that were at the park that day had just as much fun as our family did. Alright, so there may have been more than five families there, but it was pretty sparse. Don't believe me, take a look at these pictures.

The kids had their pick on every ride, and they could just sit there and ask to go again if their little hearts desired. We went all over the park, and had it that way most of the time. Every once in awhile we were forced to share but we are a hospitable family, and we made the sacrifice.

As you can see from the photos, it wasn't the most beautiful day, but for the most part it wasn't to bad. The weather that day had called for a little rain, and possibly severe thunderstorms. But every time I looked at satellite forecast over the area where the park is, it was always clear over that one area. Since it was Daddy's day off, we decided to take the risk, and I think it paid off. We had a lot of fun.

I guess I should say that most of us had fun. Baby Spice wasn't real sure this was such a fun place. First, she kept thinking she'd want to get on with her sisters, and then she'd change her mind. She finally decided she wanted to ride the boats with her sisters, and didn't change her mind until the boats started moving. Here's what she looked like as she rounded the corner the first time.

She finally did get the hang of that one, and quit screaming on about the third time around. She also was happily settled on daddy's shoulders when ....

We rounded the corner and saw those giant kiddie characters that all amusement parks must have. Apparently a dog with paws the size of her head frightened the poor girl a bit!

She was so scared that daddy could barely pry her off his head.

Fortunately, we are much more clever than dogs with giant paws, and we were able to outmaneuver them for the rest of the day.

July 2, 2007

One for the money, TWO for the show.

You've turned two and what a show you are!

You are a born performer. You sing and dance ALL THE TIME. In your estimation, any elevated surface was put there solely for your performance enjoyment. Before I moved you up to the two year old class at church last week, you apparently had your own little fan club in the nursery with your buddy Brayden. Your teachers told us that you both would sit at the snack table and you would belt out "The B-I-B-L-E", and when you were done he would just clap and clap. (If he's anything like his dad, he'll be able to accompany you soon, and if he's anything like his mom, he'll be able to do your taxes. So really it's a win/win with that friendship.)

You are also highly, HIGHLY attuned to fashion. Much more so than your sisters. I'm not sure if it's just a product of you being the third girl, or if it's genetic (probably a little of both), but at two you care A LOT about what you wear. You get excited when I tell you it's time to get dressed. And frustrated when I continuously fail at choosing the right thing. Our favorite trick of yours to show people, is to say "Baby, show (so and so) your shirt". You throw your shoulders back and proudly stick out your tummy to show off your outfit.

However, this strong sense of style can create quite a problem when you're two and very active. Once while staying at your Aunt Bekah's, you got yourself wet. (I think you were playing in the toilet. A nasty habit, that thankfully you seem to have outgrown.) Since I hadn't sent a change of clothes, Aunt B had to make do with some of Happy Boy's old outgrown clothes. You knew instantly that these were NOT girl clothes, and you let her know in no uncertain terms that you were not pleased with these turn of events.

While you are a slave of fashion, you feel that shoes are optional. And you usually opt Not. I don't ever pick you up from class with your shoes on. And I often have to trek out into the backyard to figure out where you disposed of them last. I like to say that you were born country. Never mind though, I love it. You're little feet still have that toddler look to them, and I could just eat them up. I think part of the reason that you don't like shoes is that they hide your beautifully painted toes. You will frequently bring me nail polish and then stick out your feet. However, the other day, your independence kicked in and you decided that I was an unnecessary step in that process. I found you in the kitchen painting your toenails (and your toes, and your feet, and the hard wood floors) a lovely shade of red. I too went a shade of red that could not possibly be described as lovely.

Like your sisters, you are not one of those toddlers with a ton of hair. Unlike your sisters, you are partially to blame for this. The back of your head reveals your hair growth potential.

On the right side is a cute little tuft of hair that has a little bit of curl to it. The left side is much more modest in appearance. You have a habit of sucking your thumb with your right hand while your left hand rips out plays with hair. Admittedly, this was a trait passed on from your momma. So I'm hopeful, that just as I eventually stopped, you will too. While you won't be helping out locks of love anytime soon, if there was a charity called lashes of love, you'd be their spokesperson. Your lashes go for miles and miles. Maybe I should pull a few out and glue them to the back left side of your head.

Baby, your daddy and I love you with every fiber of our being. Every day we are reminded of how blessed we are that God chose you for our family. Happy birthday my love!