Thursday, August 22, 2013
Life Lesson Month of August: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi
(On the way home from the amusement park...)
What a busy and beautiful day it has been. Weather-wise it was almost just right. A tad bit on the warm side but blue skies and sunshine all the way through! You just left our house after a busy day at school and then a trip to Sunset Park where you and I created a very imaginative playtime. I must tell you El that one of my favorite pastimes is just watching you. I love trying to see the world and all its happenings through your eyes because I know each precise moment can never again be repeated with the same innocent excitement. You always try though, but the first time is always my memory keeper! And because of your enthusiasm and love of new places, my blog this week was inspired by the trip you and I took to DelGrosso’s Amusement Park. Here it is:
Life Lesson Learned #25: Courage may come in different forms but they are always met with the same voracity; to overcome or conquer a challenging and at times life-altering situation.
Ellie I have three stories to share with you this week. The first will be a story of you because, like I said, you inspired this thought in me. The second will be a story about Poppy because he too has shown me another side of courage. And lastly, I shall tell you a story about four special women, one being a mommy and her little daughter, whose lives have been changed greatly and how their courage is seeing them through.
All right El, I shall begin with you. Last week you and I had a very special day together because your Mommy and Daddy had to go to a wedding out of town. Poppy had to golf for an all day benefit so it was just you and I and a lot of hours to have some fun. So off to DelGrosso’s Park we went, as the day was pretty nice. Not knowing what to expect Ellie, your excitement grew, as we got closer. In fact, when I finally parked the car in their lot and took you to the ticket booth (which was on the opposite side of the street from the amusement attractions) you could see a few of the rides peaking over the trees. Your blue eyes opened wide as you inhaled quickly and then held your breath for three quick seconds before calling out excitedly, “Look Mimi, look over there! Did you see that?! Hurry up, let’s go!” I had to giggle Ellie because it was still a good distance away and we had to cross the over-the-road- bridge, which was set up like a Disney line with railings. Once you saw that, you became breathless and with your one hand on your tummy and your other hand on your forehead you got a bit giddy! Ellie, as you looked at the road with the cars and then at the bridge above, you started to laugh and stated, “Mimi, I never did this before. I don’t think I can do it.” With a little laugh I answered you with a, “Ellie the bridge is not one of DelGrosso’s rides, it’s the only means we have to get to the other side where the rides actually are!” You replied, “ OHHHHHHHH. Ok. I will try but I still don’t know if I can!” Right then and there El I knew it was going to be an awesome day so I took your small hand in mine and together we walked over the very long bridge! Throughout the afternoon you took turns going on all the rides repeatedly and the one you and I called “The Caterpillar” was definitely your favorite. The Caterpillar, actually known in its true form as The Wacky Worm, was a kiddie roller-coaster. And even though it was meant strictly for smaller children, you did not meet the height requirement to ride it by yourself, so I had to join you. Ellie it was this ride that inspired my writing. Once we were seat-belted in, The Wacky Worm slowly inched down the track and up a small incline. It took on a little bit of speed when it inched over three bumps that had us rocking back and forth. As it turned a corner and sped down a hill, the look on your face was priceless! It is that same look a person has when they open a door and unbeknownst to them everyone on the other side yells ‘Surprise!’ You had that look Ellie right before you let out a shrill scream of pure delight! And then The Wacky Worm raced around a sharp turn at its fastest speed sending you into a fit of the giggles before slowing down only to repeat the process one more time. With smiling eyes and a grin from ear to ear your one request Ellie was, “Can we do that again Mimi?!” So in between the Boat Ride, the Carousel, the Fish Ride, the Train and all the other rides in Kiddie Land, you constantly chose the Wacky Worm Ride.
Now on the second, third and forth turns I encouraged you to let go of the bar and raise your hands high above your head as we climbed that first little incline (I had to convince you first that we were strapped in securely and the bar that rested in our lap was also locked in place so that we would not fall out). You were apprehensive at first El, but each time we rode it, little by little you would remove your hands from the bar. The first time you held them in front of your chest but quickly grabbed the bar when the ride began to jerk. The next time you raised your hands as high as your face but still grabbed the bar when you were uncomfortable. The third time I could see your courage growing and by the sixth time you rode that ride with your hands held high and never once grabbed the bar until the ride came to its complete stop! Now that is what I call Courageous! Anyone could see that you were quite proud of yourself Ellie as you jumped out of that Worm Car with a look that said ‘ask me and I will tell you not to be scared and how easy it is to just do it’ look! In other words El, you conquered a challenging situation with your courage and became the Pro!
Now for Poppy’s story. Poppy is the type of person Ellie that when he makes a commitment to something or someone he sees it through. He is a very dedicated individual with a great work ethic. And as long as I can remember, he has always been the kind of person who will tackle any challenge that comes his way, whether it is brought to him by other individuals or whether he has created it for himself. Like you Ellie, Poppy loves to explore and try new things, things that are not in his natural comfort zone. And if you ask me, each and every one of those situations required LOTS of courage! Let me give you some examples if you did not already know this about him. Poppy has gone solo-skydiving, he bungee-jumped, tried hang-gliding, took airplane flying lessons, rode numerous motorcycles and I think his favorite was scuba diving during a shark feeding. But now at a much older age, he has taken on a new challenge Ellie and that is Bicycling (and I don’t mean peddling casually around the neighborhood!). Last year I bought him a bike in the hopes that he would use it on a daily basis where it would become an enjoyable hobby. And I hit the jackpot with my gift, as he seemed to like it and went on many bike rides but never more than eight miles at a clip. When winter came, Poppy put his bike away but only for a short period of time. It came right out again very early this past spring, and it was then that he read an article about a bicycle ride that stretched from Philadelphia, Pa. to Atlantic City, N.J. making the trip sixty-five miles long.
It was to benefit children’s charities, which I believe was started by some Philadelphia Police Officers. Your Poppy loves finding good causes to support and this one couldn’t have been more perfect as it involved him using his new-found hobby, his bicycle! But your Poppy was very apprehensive in the beginning Ellie as he really wasn’t sure if he could accomplish this feat. It took a lot of courage for your Poppy to make this commitment because as I said before, once he does he will see it through. So he got back on his bicycle and started training. And what a training workout he got as State College is one mountainous hill after another (if you ask me no matter which direction you go, coming or going, it always seems like you are traveling on an incline!). Anyway, Poppy worked hard each and every day. And I do remember during his pre-training that there were times when he questioned himself on whether he made the right decision. But the competitive side of Poppy always comes forth and he peddled on! Well, the race took place on July 28th and Poppy’s courage to see this commitment through squashed his apprehension and he completed the course in amazing time Ellie… biking 65 miles in 3 hours and 47 minutes.
I had the honor of watching him cycle down the final stretch El and what a proud moment it was! I for one am in awe of your Poppy’s courage.
Lastly Ellie there is another type of courage and that is when a challenging situation comes along concerning ones health. Gigi, your Aunt Joanne and a very close friend of mine Lesta, have all been diagnosed with a life-threatening form of cancer in the not-so-far-off past. I do know with each of these women that their courage to fight their battle with cancer came not only from the love of family and friends, but also from Faith and Prayer. After many treatments and a long road to recovery, your Gigi and Aunt Joanne have overcome this disease and both are very vigilant in taking the best care of their bodies. Lesta, who has an amazing and positive outlook, still has to fight the fight but I believe and pray her courage will see her through this too. Another friend of ours, Cindy, and her daughter, Kendall, are dealing with a completely different kind of courage El and that is because Kendall, who is not quite three years old, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Cindy, her family, friends and even strangers are praying daily for a miracle to happen here. But until it does, Cindy has had to find the courage to hear, internalize and process the diagnosis given… she then has had to find the courage to seek out support groups and others who have gone through what she is just now experiencing and most importantly she has had to find the courage within herself to get through each day with some sense of normalcy if there is such a thing any more. Cindy has also had to find the courage not to go any further than the present day to just love her daughter for that specific moment in time. Kendall too has courage Ellie. I don’t know if you will remember, but at Aunt Nancy’s memorial service you and Kendall had a ‘moment.’ At that time, no one knew that Kendall was sick. While her Mommy was holding her, you gracefully held out your arm and Kendall very slowly and very gently touched you. No words were ever exchanged but you both stared at each other with a sense of familiarity. I believe now Ellie that an all knowing and powerful connection passed between the two of you. I also feel that you understand the courage that Kendall holds. Knowing that she herself has great discomfort, Kendall will still seek her Mommy’s face and show her with a smile just how much she loves her. She also readily accepts the many distractions of others to help her get through her day. Your Mommy and Daddy, as well as your Poppy and I, know all too well what Cindy and Kendall are going through. Kendall’s life is at stake and yet mommy and daughter have come to terms with appreciating each day that Kendall awakes and they make the best of that day. Ellie, as your mommy will tell you, that takes the greatest courage of all for only God has our answers. The best gift we can give Kendall and all who are in a similar situation is prayer.
So I guess the lesson to be learned here El is that Courage is instilled in all of us and we may draw upon it in any situation. Whether it is uncertainty, danger, fear or pain, everyone’s ultimate goal is to confront and hopefully conquer these emotions. Each of us has the strength to do so, but it takes courage to know when and how to use it. Never be afraid Ellie of life’s many challenging situations, use your mind, heart and soul as well as your Trust in God to meet them head on. No matter the outcome, you will become a stronger person.
Love you my courageous little Ellie-Bean!