Friday, January 31, 2014

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

I am blessed. I have the most wonderful Mr Geek on the planet. I sincerely and deeply appreciate everything he does for our family, working the overly stressful job tirelessly to provide for the family,  fixing all the broken items -from broken cars to broken barbies and toy trucks, leading our family with honor and wisdom and dignity,  giving me the gift of sincere and fascinating conversation, his unwaivering support of homeschooling our precious brood, very protective of me and our young family, choosing to spend all his spare time (which isn't much) with them and investing in them, and his dedication and humility towards his family. 

It was not always that way. We had a terrible time in our marriage. I didnt think our fragile union would survive.

But that is a story I will begin another day.

For those who live in the middle of our country, you know that we have been having record-setting low temps and snowfall. Over the last three weeks we have barely even left the house (causing some serious cabin fever in my five monkeys -I just can't send them out to play when the wind chill is 24 below!) And my Sweet Geek has battled his emotions of concern sending his medical curriers out in this terrible weather -knowing that the conditions they are driving in are life threatening, but also knowing that the elderly recipients of the medication they deliver are facing life threatening situations themselves.  What a burden to bear. 

And yet, each day he came home and slept, then tackled the chest high drifts in our driveway without complaint.  

I was wishing that there was a way to lighten his load. I sincerely thought that I could do a little snowblowing so he could get some more sleep or catch up on something else.  But I had no idea just how hard that would be.

On Friday night the roads were so horrific that Larry was stuck 30ish miles away in the city where he works. On Saturday morning he called me: "I am SURE the driveway has drifted over. It has drifted every day for the last three weeks.  You are going to have to start the snowblower and make at least enough of a path for me to walk in and take over. Take the path of least resistance and get to the road.  Now listen carefully..."

He then proceeded to describe the complicated way to start the snowblower.  

First you turn one knob, then another, then pump a thing three times,  then plug it in, then hold down yet another button for three seconds. But it wont start then,  so you turn one of the knobs back one notch, then it was frozen so I had to free the thrower, then I had to stand on my head, sing the alphabet backwards, do the hokey-pokey ... you get the idea. It was the most tempermental, sideways, ridiculous thing I have ever had to coax into action. Ever. 

More than my kids. Yes. Really.

More tempermental than my first car -a 1978 Chevy Impala Station Wagon. And that is really saying something. That thing was a beast.

So I FINALLY got the ornery thing started. 

Out I set, by this time Larry is parked across the street, waiting for me.  He had purchased a shovel at the store on his way down, and was at the other end of our 40 yard driveway shoveling towards me.  My two oldest girls, viewing this for what it was, an adventure, climbed over the drifts and headed out to joyfully greet him and help shovel from that end. 

Ok. The path of least resistance. 
The path of least resistance. 
The path of least resistance. 

Ok. That looks like the best way to go. 

I headed down the east side of our driveway. It appeared to be the best route. About halfway down I realized that the snowblower was determined to go halfway on the grass. 

Now, let me take a moment to say that the difficult way to start this machine was a great indication of how difficult it was to manage the thing! It is like an unruly dog. It needs a firm hand. Much firmer than mine. 

So, here I was, the grass on the left, and a shoulder high drift on my right.

Hmmmm. I think my assesment of "the path of least resistance" was badly done. Not working.

So what do you do when you make a mistake? You admit it and make it right. I acknowledged defeat and backed up to attempt another route. The middle of the driveway was the highest point of the drift,  so I cut across and tried down the west side. It seemed to be going well enough until I hit this large chunk of ice. It was nearly as high as a cinder block and twice as wide. I just couldn't get it over or around it. Once again admitting defeat I headed back to my first defeat and tried to cut through the shoulder high drift. 

By this time I was completely exhausted.

I knew it was hard, but this was beyond me. I asked God, no, I BEGGED, for strength and courage and just kept plugging forward.  

All of a sudden I noticed oil dumping out of the snowblower. NOT a little. A LOT. 

If you know anything about engines that require oil, you know this is a very, VERY bad sign. 

My own knowledge is limited,  but this I knew was not good. I let go and stepped away and started yelling for Sweet Geek in a bonifide PANIC.

Aaaaack! I BUSTED his only snowblower, I was thinking. He, being the darling he is, waded through the only hip-deep drifts to see what I was panicked about. I think he injured himself coming to my rescue. 

Turns out I was tipping it too much and was dumping oil out of the oil well. I was SO relieved I didn't ruin the snowblower! Mechanical things, and electronics and I DO NOT get along. Maybe that is one reason why my first car and I didn't get along. I just don't do well. I ruin phones and computers in the most ridiculous ways. My Sweet Geek is constantly saying, "What did you do NOW?!"

So he checked it out and everything was fine. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness at the bullet dodged!

And I have never been so happy to hand a task over to someone else in my life. 

I think I would rather change 100 poopie diapers than ever run that machine ever again. like, EVER.


So I climbed over the drifts to help the girls dig towards him from the other direction.

We tackled it with vigor, knowing that every shovel of snow we threw was one less bit of snow thing Sweet Geek had to deal with. 

Now, this fall, for the first time in my life I discovered that cold weather produced breathing problems for me. I had been training for a 5k, but was forced to discontinue after needing an inhaler for EVERY SINGLE RUN.  So, when using ANY exertion outside, I have my inhaler with me and use it. Ugh. 

So I was prepared I had tucked my inhaler into my pocket, thinking that having it close to my skin would be enough to keep it warm, right? 

Wrong.

On came the asthma attack. I pulled it out and used it.

When the frozen mist hit my lungs like 1000 tiny icicles stabbing the inside of my lungs, I knew I was in trouble. I waded my way back to the house over four foot drifts, feeling lightheaded and my legs like jelly and headed inside. 

I laid down on the couch, my chest hurting, and rested while the medicine icicles in me lungs melted and started working. After a half hour or so, he sent the girls in so they didnt get too cold.

After a few hours of resting I looked at the clock and out the window. At this point realized how little progress Sweet Geek had made. It was about three hours later, and he had still not been able to punch a wide enough hole through the drift to allow even enough room to pull the van in. So once again I bundled up and headed out, and for two more hours we worked together. I walked behind him breaking down the drifts for his next pass. I was careful not to exert myself too much and get to breathing hard. I just knew he could never get it done in time to head back to his evening job without some help. I even wrestled with the snowblower for a couple passes so he could get a warm cup of coffee. 

By the time we were done I was aching all over. I used muscles I forgot I had! Oh, boy. Did I ever ache! All told, it took seven hours to get a path wide enough to not get stuck in. SEVEN HOURS! 

But I realized something. My oldest, Monkey See, said it best. 

She watched me struggle with the snowblower and said, "Dad sure makes that look easy, doesn't he?"

Yes, Monkey See, he does.

I realized that my husband is really good at hiding so many difficult things he faces every day. Sometimes I am given a glimpse from him how many different things he wrestles with because he is a 
definite "words person." He loves to tell me about his day.

 But men who aren't words guys, who struggle to communicate with their wives, who don't want to or can't put words to the way their day made them feel might not have the tools to express what their struggles are.  Even my Sweet Geek with his superior communication skills has trouble puting words to it. And he doesn't want to complain.  how many men carry burdens feeling so alone because they think they must just "suck it up" and refuse to complain?

We as women seem to have an easy time wording the struggles of our day. I have read so many, many blogs where women talk about the endless stream of dirty diapers, shirts we have worn for three showerless days covered in spit-up and baby food in our hair, the riggors of frantically locking the bathroom door so we can poo in peace -hoping against hope that they are distracted enough by Backyardigans that they don't destroy anything before you can finish. Because you haven't pooped alone in three months. 

And I am not saying that those blogs and personal accounts aren't important. They are!  They aren't only important, they are crucial. They not only help all of us who share similar experiences to realize we are not alone in our struggles,  but it also gives those outside our experience an opportunity to have an insight into our lives.  They can have empathy in our situation. They can see new perspectives and have a window into vastly different lifestyle than their own. It is powerful.

Words are powerful. Writing words is powerful too. It is a form of therapy.

But the male blogs are simply not as common.  I think that men have plenty to say, but they dont seem generally express it in the same ways as we do. 

Sometimes we need to set our rough day aside for a moment and read between the lines.

Not only do so many men just not sit around and talk about their feelings (can you IMAGINE that night out with the boys? I am giggling just thinking about it!), but they can't always tell us what they need. Even my uber-verbal Sweet Geek just can't seem to say, "I really need to to support me today because I am falling apart here." or "I missed you today and all I want is for you to seem really happy to see me!"

And, UGH! How often am I so wrapped up in my own little set of problems that I forget he has a set of them too? How frequently do we women lash out our frustration aimed at him when he gets home? How often do we dismiss his feelings because, hey! at least he gets to poop without an audience?

  His rough day, his exhaustion is every bit as valid as my own.

 When he comes in saying "I am so tired."

I have ZERO right to say "You have no idea what tired is! I got no sleep last night with the baby and still had to function today!"

Wrong.  

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. 

Your frustrating day does not make his rough day worthless.  

How much better would it be if we could understand and build instead of tear down?

Would it hurt us, really, to say, "I am so sorry you are tired. I know how you feel. I am exhausted too. Tell me about your tiring day while I rock the baby and then I'll tell you about mine."

And 

"Honey, it means a lot to me that you work so hard at your job. Thank you." 

And

"I am so glad God gave me you!"

Or

"I am so glad you are home!"

A couple of scriptures to think on:

Proverbs 14:1

Every wise woman buildeth her house: 
but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

If you aren't respecting and actively BUILDING UP your husband (and children), then you are tearing down your household. You tear him down, you are dealing your own destruction. 

Matthew 7:12

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, 
do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

You want to be appreciated.  So appreciate.  
You want to be loved. So love. 
You want to be forgiven when you fail. So forgive.
You want to be listened to. So listen.
You wish to be understood. So make and effort to understand him.


Even when he doesn't appreciate you. 
Even when he is crabby. 
Even when he hold stuff against you. 
Even when he fails you.

Cut him some slack. 


You want to be respected, right?
So respect. Even when he doesnt deserve it.

I know that I couldn't without my Faith.  

Tell me about your hubby. What does he do that you are very glad you dont have to do?





Sunday, July 14, 2013

When Push Comes To Shove

     "COME ON! YOU CAN PEDAL YOURSELF! I am NOT going to push you all the way around the culdesac!" I almost hollered at my sweet Monkey Do, who must have been about four at the time. "YOU CAN DO THIS! COME ON! LET'S GO!" 

     The neighbors must have thought I was one of those horrifyingly abusive, overbearing, out-of-control parents who has no compassion on her poor breakable children, but that was entirely the opposite in this case. Here she was, four or five, fully big enough to learn to pedal in the early stages of learning to ride a two-wheeler with training wheels. But she didn't WANT to pedal! She wanted ME to push her all the way around the lazy loop of our street. I might have given in and complied, except that I had her little sister (who must have been just under two) in the stroller. There was no way that I would be able to push the stroller and her as well. 

    And every few moments she would stop, and cry and ask me to give her a push, followed a wheel barrel load of whining for good measure. She wanted me to do it all for her. After the fifth or sixth push, and enough tears to fill a five gallon bucket, I looked at our progress. We made it all of 15 feet. 
     I suddenly had an epiphany: She was NEVER going to pedal her bike without without some kind of push. I was going to either have to resign myself to always propelling her little bike everywhere she rode -for the REST OF HER LIFE, or allow her to give up and never learn to ride, or I was going to have to push her will and propel her character. 

     When thinking of which of those choices is reasonable, we think the choice is so obvious, but for SO MANY parents I have observed an almost obsessive departure from the same thought process that seems so normal and reasonable to me! 



     For the sake of argument, let us consider those choices one at a time:

     1. Allowing her to give up: My little Monkey Do was SO excited about getting a new bike! She begged for it, she was THRILLED when Daddy brought it home, she wouldn't allow anyone else to touch it! She WANTED to learn to ride. She was very vocal about what she would do when she rode, and expressed the new adventures she concocted in her sweet four-year-old mind that involved bike riding! But when things got tough she wanted someone to do it for her. I could have said, "Ok, you tried. Let's go park the bikes and we will just walk from now on." This wasn't really what Monkey Do wanted anyway, but even if she had been willing to park the bike and never learn, what doors would that have closed for her? She would never feel the rush of the wind in her hair, have the joy that comes with bike riding altogether! As she grows she would limit her mobility, so many young people ride bikes to friend's homes or neighborhood jobs. She wouldn't be able to go on bike trips with the youth group or do anything that required her to possess this skill. And most importantly, she would never know the satisfaction of accomplishing something that was very difficult for a sweet four-year-old girl! Pedaling is a huge deal to a little monkey with short legs. Allowing her to quit would have robbed her of that joy.
     But most importantly, what does allowing her to quit after such a feeble attempt say about my expectations for her for the future? What about when other things get hard like college, a job or your marriage. Does allowing her to quit teach her that anything worth having is worth working for? Does it teach her that sometimes accomplishing something worthwhile takes everything you have? Whether it is finishing your degree to do what you love best or making it to your 40th wedding anniversary? Quitting and allowing her to quit seems so clearly illogical. This choice was quickly dismissed in my mind.

     2. Doing it for her: This is a pit I see so many parents fall into. They want so badly for their kids to succeed, and have everything they never had, that they are willing to do everything for their kids. But how does doing everything for them apply to successful lives? What about when they are in college? Or get a job (followed by being fired)? Or become a parent? What happens when the parents pass away? This type pf parenting creates uber-dependant, non-functional adults who cannot think or act for themselves. Do you want your child never married, unemployed and still living at home on your dime? This is the way to accomplish that end! When you do everything for them you remove the understanding of natural consequences and rob them entirely of anything resembling work ethic, ambition or desire to succeed. You are basically ensuring that they will fail at life! Not a choice for me. A life of perpetual failure isn't what I want for my lovely, sweet, intelligent children. I want them to soar! Giving them responsibility, and making them take responsibility for their own actions -and successes or failures- lets them learn to manage those successes and failures. This skill can launch them far in life!

     3. Pushing her to do it herself. This is a difficult approach as a parent. This is tough love in small increments throughout their life to better prepare them for the rigors of real life! This means letting kids -even when they are young- to live with some of the consequences of their decisions. 
     When my girls were small we were given the chance to go to a local theme park and they were really excited about it. This excitement translated into a REFUSAL to stay in bed! Larry had installed a motion sensor light in their bedroom in an effort to save money on our light bill and not only did they refuse to sleep, but they would stand up on their beds and flail their arms and make the light come one. NOW we laugh about it. At the time, as the clock hands reached 1am and the 1:30am, and with their baby sister screaming from sheer exhaustion at the refusal of her sisters to allow her to sleep, we were not laughing. We all had to be up in less than 5 hours and there was a battle on. Sweet Geek finally put his foot down: you lay down and be quiet. If you aren't LAYING DOWN and QUIET right NOW, we are NOT going. At all. 
They did not heed him. They continued to come out of their room and be overly rowdy instead of simply laying down. We did not go the next day. We couldn't take three very small children into an extremely crowded theme park, overly exhausted and crabby -with no assurances of their motivation to obey! We had their safety to consider! It broke our hearts. they were filled with grief and regret, but we had no choice! We said there would be consequences! We had to follow through. Tough love. Tough love isn't nearly as tough for the child as it is for the parents. 
     So in this instance what would tough love look like? It meant prodding her verbally. I had to cheer and insist at the same time! But this was clearly the right choice! She NEEDED to accomplish this and have the sense of success and the lifelong rewards that went with it!

     So I hollered, I prodded, when she said "I can't..." I would yell, "YES YOU CAN!!!" She cried. It broke my heart. She thought I was horrible and mean. It shattered me. But I can't raise my children to be entirely unprepared to live as successful adults. And I don't mean successful in terms that the majority of our society recognizes. I mean for them to have good relationships, to be mature enough to seek Christ on their own, to have some failures and successes enough to give them perspective, and humility enough to have compassion for others. 

There was a single young woman who came to stay with us for a little over a week last Summer. The trip was not fun for either of us. We were not as exciting as she expected and I certainly didn't need another child around to clean up after. Among other things she actually hauled off and hit me. Twice. In front of my kids. I was relieved to put her on her transportation home.
Some time after she went home I got a series of communication from her which criticized my parenting. She claimed I was mean and prideful to my kids for insisting that they treat me with respect. She claimed that my children would all go off the deep and and hate me.
My answer to her was, "How many kids have you raised? Do you have a single moment of parenting experience? If I want parenting advice I will ask someone who has amazing, grown kids who turned out godly and wise and ask their advice. I won't ask a single, non-parent who has no idea. And what is your standard for your judgement of my parenting? Did you think I would raise my kids the way you were raised? You have made terrible choices that have negatively affected your life over and over. Do you think I want that for my kids? based on the things you have suffered wouldn't you WANT me to prepare my kids for adulthood better than you were prepared?"
She later apologized, but I am sure she still does not understand. Parenting isn't about making life easy for you kids! Parenting isn't about being your kids' friend! Parenting isn't about giving your kids everything you didn't have! Parenting isn't about raising heirs or mini-me's. Parenting isn't about having the perfect kids so that your peers think you are great! Parenting is about raising kids who are ready to live on their own -without YOU! If you are successful they LEAVE and go live wonderful lives all on their own. If you do your job, you work yourself of of a job! Your job is to get them ready!

     I was talking about this concept with my Marvelous Mom yesterday on the phone. Monkey See is now old enough to go on a trip with Nana and Papa, and left on the 4th for a wonderful vacation planned just for her and her cousin. Oh! The fun planned for them! and yet my poor girl is terribly homesick. She has been having a TON of fun and loving the adventures she has been having, but when she talks to us on the phone she begins to cry. She doesn't want to come home, but she is having a tough time. My Marvelous Mom was wondering if they should cut out the last couple of planned adventures and get her home more quickly, and MEAN OLD MOMMA said "No." Monkey See will remember this trip for the rest of her life and cherish the time she has with my parents. She will have wonderful memories of all the things they did together and the things she learned about them as people and as her family. I want her to experience all that she can -all this trip has to offer. I sure do miss her, and hearing her heart break over the phone was painful. It may have seemed calloused to push her to let her fears go and press towards fun. But as hard as it is to bear her grief, it would be harder for her to miss something as important as this trip and regret it for the rest of her life. This time with my parents and having the experiences she is will shape her character -even if it is in a small way. And she can DEFINITELY benefit from time with my Marvelous Parents.
     So I push her. I tell her everything will be great and she will always cherish this trip. I tell her not to rob herself of the fun she should be having. I tell her to make sure she is helping Nana and Papa. It must seem to her as if I am dismissing her pain. It must seem as if I am not validating her feelings. But in real life some things are WAY more important that how you feel. Facing your feelings and doing what is right even when you don't FEEL like it is the definition of courage. 

Monkey Do with a TON of prodding made it all the way around our tiny culdesac. twice. It was hard to prod her and balance the pushing and the cheering. but she did it and at age nine she now LOVES to ride her bike!
 
     Yep. I can live with my kids having the courage to face life with responsibility and dignity.
Because when push comes to shove, these kids will have to look at themselves in the mirror every day. I want to raise kids that can live with that reflection.

      When push comes to shove...

Monday, March 18, 2013

New Postit

I am sure that some of you are wondering why it is that I have waited so long to blog again. especially since I have expressed such a desire to, right? Well, the answer is quite simple. It is nearly impossible to blog from a phone. Yep, you heard me. We moved into a very rural area, and suddenly the blogging I so took for granted became impossible. I tried! I really did. Blogging is simple -if you don't think that capitalization and punctuation is at all important.

I tried to blog and this is what happened from my phone:
 
it has been way too long since i have posted on my blog. i know. i knoe1 you all missed my witty banter and flawless humor

Couldn't backspace, no commas, nothing but periods. Ugh.

In fact, the wonderful, obvious typo name of this post is due to the inability to fix a single mistake.


Oh, MY! I am so glad that in real life God often gives us the chance to make things right. He offers forgiveness and redemption, and wipes our sins clean. how glad I am that He has forgiven me! and I am not just stuck in a hopeless place with no hope of making some of my mistakes right!


My Friends, it has been far too long. 

So much has changed in the two and a half years since I was last on this page blogging. And I have often missed this outlet for creativity and expression. Many times I have wanted to pour out my experiences and sort out my mind by puting it in print. Many times I have wished to share what God has been doing in my life and in the lives of my family. So many times I have wished to share the hardship and miracles and most of God's faithfulness with you!

I am beyond blessed. In the past three years I have been so tenderly loved by my Savior. Time and time again He has blessed me in ways I could never have anticipated! God has repeatedly poured out His tender affections on myself and my family. It is humbling. It reduces me to grateful tears. 

How is it that the God of the Universe sees fit to hear and answer my prayers? I am but an insect, and yet I can go to His feet and unburden my heart and lay all my cares and worries at His feet. 

Among the blessings are the growing of my sweet Emma and the adding of our only boy (and our only blue-eyed child) Kenny to our family. We did not expect to have another child, but God surprised us with a wonderful gift!

And God has blessed our marriage in amazing ways. Our marriage is inspiring, passionate and thrilling. I adore my husband. Who knew that the way for the power of God to be unleashed was with MY obedience. How often we ask God to work, and it turns out that the work that needs to happen is in ME! I am so grateful for God's work in our marriage. and if my humble obedience produces such lovely results, we should all clamor to obey!


 Larry and Dawn, December 2012


 The family


In addition to many blessings, God has led us to an amazing church full of sincerity and truth. We are repeatedly blessed by our wonderful church family!

We also were blessed by the chance to live in a beautiful home! We outgrew everywhere we have ever lived! But God provided a home big enough for our family and at the right price.

In November of 2011 (on Thanksgiving Day) the kids and I were in a serious car accident. God protected our children and my injuries were not life threatening. Our van was totaled. and God provided new wheels for us a few months later. 

There are so many things I could share! SO MANY... And I will. But those posts will have to wait for another day! 

Thanks for reading. I am just so thrilled to be back!

Dawn Marie



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Peek-A-Boo

There is a really good reason why I had so much trouble getting clear pictures of Emma out of 129 pictures!

WHERE is Emma!

Peek-a-boo!


WHERE is Emma!

Peek-a-boo!

WHERE is Emma!

Peek-a-boo!


You think that is FUNNY! Don't you?

WHERE is Emma!


Hi, Pretty Girl!



Friday, July 9, 2010

More = A Better Chance of Gettine ONE Good One

Babies are wiggly.

Just in case you did not know.

And since I have fallen in love with natural light...

(There is not anyone that a flash cannot make look worse than they really do!)

I am having a terrible time getting good photos of little wiggly girl without them turning out like

THIS:

And then there are these that I really wish had turned out because of her sweet expression:


I took 129 pictures.

NO KIDDING!

And out of all the wiggly child pictures, managed to get only a few really good ones!

Doesn't it always seem that the sweetest ones end up in file 13?


But I cannot complain too much!

I did get THESE:


So I have learned that when really trying to get good pictures you really need to take a lot of them -especially when the subject is a wiggly little 3-month-old! More in this case is more!

There were quite a few that turned out beautifully. I am glad that I got them!


And this VERY special one:
And I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing


When we arrived the first day to ride horses with Mr K, it looked, for all intents and purposes that Monkey Shine was going to be the fraidy cat.

She does not like animals AT ALL! In fact, ANYTHING furry that moves is OUT -in her mind!
You can read about it HERE.
Align Center
So she was the one I thought I would really have to sweet talk. She was the one I thought would chicken out, and I was not disappointed by her hesitation to even approach the animals!
She would rather climb into some branches than get close to the fence where they are being held!

You can tell by her face!

So while Monkey Shine was freaking out and needing to be sweet-talked by Mommy Monkey (that would be me), Monkey Do was having a ball.

She got to brush the horse, a lovely girl named Autumn:

I love Monkey Do's face in this one! She is really enjoying it!
And there is a sense of caring and doing something that is nice for the horse!

So Monkey See and Monkey Do brushed the horse together and then...

Monkey Do stepped back and watched as Monkey See had a lesson in how to saddle a horse...

And went for a ride!

And then it was her turn!

Mom! I am scared! I don't want to ride!

WHAT!?!? You have been talking non-stop about this for TWO MONTHS! WHY in the world are you not going to GET ON THAT HORSE?!

Well, I have never seen an animal that big up close!

Now here is the part that baffles me: She was NOT afraid to brush this huge animal looming above her. As a mother I was standing there thinking, "Be careful! Don't get trampled or kicked!" But she was happy to brush this enormous animal, but when it came time to go for a lazy little walk, around a corral, led by a very experienced horsewoman, in a saddle, with a handle and NOW we chicken out!

So Olivia, one of the darling young women helping, tried to "convince" her to get on the horse.

Guess where it got us!

HERE:
Full out meltdown mode. She was HYSTERICAL!

Finally it was clear that riding that day was going to be a lost cause, and we gave up.

I am really torn about that! I do not want this child -who lives in fear and is afraid to try ANYTHING- to cheat herself out of fun!
When she was learning to pedal her bike -with training wheels on, mind you- she would want me to push her around the cul-de-sac because she was too afraid to pedal. I must have looked like a terribly mean mother for yelling to her "NO, you go! C'mon! PEDAL!" all the way around. I must have seemed so mean! But she had to be pushed, and not in the literal sense. She simply needed to be MADE to do it so that she could see how amazingly capable she was! Now she is trying to teach herself to ride without training wheels! Larry took them off for her, and she is slowly getting it!
I push my kids to do things that are hard and that they are afraid of so that they do not live a life ruled by fear. When they do something hard for them it gives them such a sense of accomplishment and increases confidence! And if I do not make them face fear then they may be afraid to do the right thing and give in to those fears. And make a choice that could negatively impact them for the rest of their lives!
Fear can cripple them for life.

But it was clear that this was not going to be the day.

So what about the other "Fraidy Cat"?

These pictures say a thousand words:
She loved it! And the next time that we came to lessons, she was the first one on the horse!

So to give our little story of bravery and fear closure, what happened when Monkey Do was next there for lessons? Well before we even left I told her that if she didn't ride this time I was not going to bring her back for lessons. I simply am not going to have a meltdown to deal with three times a week for the entire summer!

So she swallowed,

And:

Now that was not so bad, was it?

"That was fun Momma! I think I will ride next time!"

Much ado about nothing.