I may have said this before, but I am eternally in awe of my oldest daughter. I really never know what to expect from her, but it seems that I'm (almost) always pleasantly surprised. I am aware that these blissful days of her (mostly) agreeable, cooperative demeanor are probably numbered. I am aware that she is a normal 4-year-old girl who has attitude at times and, on more than one occasion, has shocked me with her belligerence, defiance, and general sauciness. But for the most part, she is just the sweetest, coolest kid I know.
Friday night, we went to the Fall Festival. Remember? I told you about it yesterday, but I didn't want to get the Jan Brady, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" speech from Reese if I wrote about Avery on REESE'S birthday page. So, I saved it for today. Turns out, it's worth a page of it's own anyway, in my opinion.
First, let me say this: I do not want to jinx myself nor am I bragging nor do I think I am an awesome mom (I've already proven that's not the case) who has raised perfect children, but here I go. Avery is amazingly well behaved in public. I don't know how she got that way. She's a normal kid at home...sometimes sassy and annoying, often loud, disagreeable and whiny. But in front of other people, she is almost perfect. At this festival last weekend, she was one of the best behaved kids there. She waited patiently in every line...and there was a line for everything. She never whined that she didn't get a turn, she never asked for more than the one piece of candy they "won" at the end of each game, and she let other kids go in front of her if they were pushing and shoving. Here are she and her sister, waiting to throw rings around the necks of several rubber ducks.
Reese looks like she's about to get salty if someone doesn't hand her some rings, pronto, (she just turned two remember, and it's always mine or my turn!) but Avery is just standing there politely, and this is how she stood at every game. Yeah, she was excited, but she was calm, cool and collected all night.
Here she is, on stage with the talent for that evening. A Christian Rap group sang "Crush, Knock His Head Off" (Him being the devil, of course) and they needed a group of kids to stand up there and pretend to be having their heads knocked off. See Avery? Is she the only kid still having her head knocked off? I think so. She never stopped. This guy told her to bang her head and by golly, she banged her little head all night long. Throughout the entire song, because, you see, he never told her she could stop. Look at all those other heathens just doing whatever they please, while my little angel in the back continues to do exactly what B-Holy asked her to do.
But here's where she really wowed me that evening. There was a 30-foot rock wall out in front of the church. Mostly upper elementary and middle school-aged kids were climbing. There were a few younger kids, but if I had to guess, I'd say the youngest kid I saw out there was probably 7 or 8. And Avery wanted to do it. I'll be honest, I indulged her because I really thought that, once we got to the point where they put her in the harness, she would freak out and not want to do it. We waited in that line for almost 30 minutes. She was, by far, the smallest kid in line at the time. I looked at her, so small, yet so sure of herself and again, was amazed by her strength and confidence. She didn't seem nervous or apprehensive in the least. She asked me which side she would climb on and I said "I don't know, I'll have to ask that guy which side is the beginner side." She responded with "It's ok Mom, I'll ask him myself." Such independence.
So we get up there. She's still going for it. Nice guy straps her into the harness. She doesn't flinch. We go to her spot and wait for other nice guy to hook her to the wall with the safety cord.
She is ready. I think this is it, the panic-and get-me-down point (it totally would have been for me.) Nope, she's climbing right up there.
Ok, she's on the wall, but she's going to freak out at any point. Her dad and I are both there, ready to console her and catch her when she panics. It's not that I don't have faith in her, but she's four. And she's tiny. And that wall is so big. But her strength and determination far surpass anything I've ever seen before. I know for sure I wouldn't have gotten on this thing when I was 4-years-old.
Check this kid out. Am I making too big of a deal out of this? Is she just a normal kid, doing something that all four-year-olds do? Oh, who cares, this is my page and if I want to brag and say my kid is the best kid in the world, I can, right? I want her to read this someday and know that she impressed the heck out of her dad and me on this night.
Ok, so right about here, I yell "Avery, you are just like the real Spider Man!" She looks down at me. And sees how high she is and panics. She starts to cry. She says "I want to get down" and we say "You're almost to the top, Baby," not because we care if she makes it, but because we know her and we know she will care if she doesn't make it. And God bless that little thing. She kept going. Only about 2 more steps and she cried the whole time, but my gosh-darn it people, she kept going. And she's only four. I don't have that kind of intestinal fortitude right now. In fact, when I was 18, in Sydney Australia, I was up in a crane, strapped to a bunjee cord, leaning over the edge of Sydney Harbor and backed out at the last minute. I couldn't even forge ahead at 18. At four, I would have cried hysterically, wet my pants twice, and sat up there, refusing to budge until some poor high school kid had to come up and rescue me. Not her. She cried for a minute, yelled that she was coming down, shook for another minute, and then slowly lowered herself to the bottom (with the help of the nice kid working there.)
By the way, when she got to the bottom, and we told her we were so proud of her and so amazed by her, you wanna know what her response was? "Yeah, but I didn't even make it to the top?" I said "Baby, who cares? I never would have done this when I was four," and the guy working said, incredulously, "She's FOUR????" He told her "You are by far, the bravest four year old I've ever met."
I don't care if I am being a boastful mom. I am proud of this kid. And in awe of her inner strength and confidence. And if we aren't our kids' biggest cheerleaders, how will they ever know how fabulous they are?
And one day, when she thinks I hate her because I roll my eyes at her pink hair, or I won't let her pierce her cartilage or tattoo the inside of her eyeball, I will show her this.
You are awesome, Baby Girl. There is no one else like you. You amaze me.