Staying in the Fight

When my nine year old was a three year old she did her first horseback riding lessons, and she also fell off a horse for the first time.  The instructor helped her stand back up and told her the best thing for her to do was get right back up on the horse.  She agreed immediately, and was back up and riding a moment later.  It’s a moment of pride I still remember fondly, when she literally got back on the horse.

We’ve been doing Taekwondo together now for almost four years and when my nine year old reached brown belt she ran into a new obstacle.  At brown belt board breaking became part of the test and she didn’t break her boards.  Even though this meant not passing her belt test, she was still committed to seeing it though and says she will still someday get her black belt.

Last night we went to testing again.  She did her form, then did two rounds of sparring.  Then, during her third and final round of sparing she got kicked right in the eye.  She dropped down to her knees and the instructor asked, “Can you still fight?”  She shook her head no, holding her hand over her eye.  The instructor then said, “You are still testing.  Can you get up and finish your test?”  At this my daughter immediately nodded her head yes, and then got back up and finished the sparring round.  I was very proud of her and was reminded of the horse years ago as she literally didn’t quit the fight.

Oh, and in case you’re curious she also broke both of her boards!


“Daddy, I really want a horsey.  When can I get a horsey?” my daughter asked.

“Honey, to be honest I don’t know when we can afford a horse.  If I were a millionaire I would get you one, but we don’t have the money right now.”

“Well how much does a horse cost?  Maybe we can find one on sale online?” she asked.

“Well it’s not just the cost of the horse.  You also have to pay for a stable where it can live, and for food and for people to help take care of it.”

“Hmmm,” she said, “well you aren’t a millionaire now but you will be one day right?”

“I hope so,” I said, “but if so I can’t tell you when and it might never happen.”

“Okay,” she said, “are you a Thousandaire?”

“What?” I asked confused.

“Are you at least a Thousandaire right now?”

“Ummm, yes I guess I am.” I answered after rolling the idea around in my head for a second.

“Good!” she said, “then we just have to focus on making you into a Two-Thousandaire next and eventually we’ll get up to Millionaire!”

An Ethical Wind

“Daddy,” my eight year old said, “There was kind of a spooky, almost magical sound in my room.  Did you hear it?”

“No,” I said, “what did it sound like?”

“Hmmm,” she said, “maybe it was just the wind.  Yeah, I bet it was an ethical wind.”

“A wind that is nice to people and tries to do the right thing?” I asked.

“No, kind of ghostly.  What’s the word?”

“Enchanted wind maybe?” I asked.

“No,” she said thinking.  “Ethereal!  Maybe it was an ethereal wind”

“Incidentally,” I told her with a grin, “Ethical Wind just happens to be the name of my Kansas cover band.”

Disney Balloon

Disney BalloonWe celebrated My Six Year Old becoming My Seven Year Old with a trip to Disneyland. It was a fun trip for the whole family, and we made a lot of good memories, but for me one of the biggest, most impactful memories happened as we were getting ready to leave.

My daughter had begged me for a balloon, and I had put it off until the end of the day, as I didn’t want to carry a balloon all over the park, much less figure out what to do with it on rides.  She had persisted, though, and she finally got her balloon.  She loved the balloon and just gushed over it, talking about how cool it was that it was actually a balloon inside of a balloon, and playing with it all during the parade and fireworks show, and all the way back to the hotel.

The next morning, though, as we were packing up and getting ready to leave the conversation came up that we couldn’t take the balloon on the plane.

She was absolutely heartbroken.  Real tears were being shed and my offer to deflate the balloon so we could take it home didn’t help any.  The idea of DESTROYING the balloon (even a pinhole) was right out.  So we finally decided the thing to do was to give the balloon away so some other child who would love it.

We went down to breakfast, ordered food, and then left the rest of the family waiting for food to arrive while we went searching for a child.  We had avoided the hotel gift shop. When my daughter had asked to go in there previously I had asked why in the world would we go into the hotel gift shop to buy random (non-Disney) stuff when we were at Disneyland and could buy Disney souvenirs that you can’t get anywhere else.

Well it was about 6:30 a.m. as we had an early flight to catch, and there was only one child that we found that seemed to be the right age to appreciate the balloon.  He was little boy, who looked to be around 3, with his mother in the gift shop.  So we went into the gift shop and I talked to the mother for a minute to make sure they weren’t getting on a plane today too, and then nodded to my daughter.

She stood up straight, squared her shoulders, looked at the balloon for a moment, and then puffed up her chest and offered it to the little boy.  “Would you like this balloon?” she asked “It’s a really nice balloon.  I think you’ll really enjoy having it.”  The little boy’s face lit up and he took the balloon… and I started tearing up.  The whole scene, watching my daughter prepare herself to give the balloon away, watching her talk up the balloon even as she was handing it over, was just too much for me.

She looked at me, and both of us had tears in our eyes.  And then she looked up at the top shelf along the wall, the one where they keep the ridiculously big toys in the gift shop that no one in their right mind actually buys, and her face lit up as she pointed.

And that is how we ended up bringing home a rather large My Little Pony stuffed animal from Disneyland.


Your Smallest Fear

“Honey, please don’t play bounce the balloon by the T.V.” I said to My Six Year Old

“How much damage do you really think a little balloon could do to a great big T.V.?” she asked.

“My biggest fear,” I told her, “Is that you might dive for the balloon and crash into the T.V. and make it tip over on top of you.  The T.V. can be replaced, but I don’t want you getting hurt.”

“Oh,” she said.  Then she paused for a minute and then said, “Daddy, what is your smallest fear?”

Scorpion Crossing

“Dad, can we go to a real desert someday?  Like they have in Egypt?” My Six Year Old asked.

“Well,” I said, “your great grandma lives in a real desert and you have visited her so you’ve been to a real desert.  But if you want to go back we can drive there.”

“Do they have those triangle things, like in Egypt?” she asked excitedly.

“You mean pyramids?  They don’t have pyramids.”

“No, not pyramids.  Those triangles that are just made of sand that piled up.”

“Do you mean sand dunes?” I asked.

“Yeah!  Do they have sand dunes?”

“Yes,” I said, “they have sand dunes.”

“Wait,” she said with sudden concern, “do they have scorpions?”

“Yeah,” I said, “they have scorpions.  But not too many.”

“But are they poisonous?” she asked.

“Well, you can just avoid the scorpions.” I told her.

“Oh!” she said with great relief in her voice, “so, like, they have signs and stuff to tell you where the scorpions are so you can avoid them.”

Sleeping Position Possibilities

“What position do you think I should sleep in tonight?” My Six Year Old asked, “Side,  Back, Other side, Belly, Star, or Banana?  I think probably star.”

She showed me “star” and I said, “I think that’s called “spread eagle.”

“Nah,” she said, “I call it star.”

“Well,” I said, “at least if you ever hear anyone say spread eagle you’ll know what they mean.”

“Yes,” she said nodding, “they mean star!”

Unicorn With No Horn

“Do you want to see the new way I invented to get on a swing?” My Six Year Old Asked, “First you back way up and then you imagine you’re a unicorn with no horn and then you run and jump on the swing.”

“Wouldn’t a unicorn with no horn just be a horse?” I asked her.

“No Daddy,” she said with exasperation.  “I mean a unicorn whose horn blew off in the wind.  You have to imagine you’re a unicorn that lost its horn and you have to run faster than the wind to get it back.”

“Does imagining that help you run faster?” I asked

“Oh yeah!” she exclaimed.