Thursday, June 30, 2011

Things you Learn while Watching your Girls Climb a Wall

One of the days we spent in Tofino, the weather was dismal.  
Cold.  Wet.  Windy.

So we made the best of it and went to an indoor wall-climbing place called The Alternative.  We were greeted at the door by Johnny - a climber/surfer/bartender who owned the place.  We were the only ones climbing, so we got his undivided attention.

Being the adventurous mom that I am (with a permanently bent elbow that I fear will never be straight again) I sat and observed, cheered, took pictures, and offered un-solicited advice.  I also learned a bit about my girls...

In regular life, Ellie is our crazy, silly, loud and seemingly adventurous daughter.
She talks a good game.

When faced with something she's never done before, Ellie is cautious.
She timidly began her trek up the wall - looking for Mike's support and help as she went.
She needed reassurance and time.
She didn't want to be rushed and had to think each step out before she took it.

Before long, it was too much, and down she came.....

In real life, Hannah is quiet, reserved and shy.
She would rather read a book than nearly anything else.
She is also an emotional firecracker ... I wonder where she gets that from?

When given the challenge of climbing - she jumped into action.
She strategized and planned her attack carefully - but she also took risks and pushed herself until she completed what she set out to do.
When she finished the beginner climb, she begged for a more difficult challenge.

She didn't stop until she touched the wood on top.

In real life, Sasha is peaceful to be around.
She is easy-going and rolls with the punches.  She has to, after all, she is the little sister.
She often flies under the radar and does her thing without pomp and ceremony.

When given the challenge to climb, she jumped at it.
She moved quickly at first - setting goals and going after them.
She liked to hear Mike's voice and would follow his instructions of help.
She was calm and relaxed, just like her daddy.

Hannah ended the day with a really challenging climb.  Sometimes her drive amazes me.  For someone who appears so quiet and timid, she knows how to push herself beyond her limits.

It also helped that Johnny was close by...  He wanted to see her do it.
.... and she was off.

Here are some other things I learned....

When you can't do something that you think you should be able to do - it's hard to watch your sisters do it with ease and get applauded for it.

Sometimes things that look easy - aren't.

Most things that are worth doing take a lot of muscle power.  Physical and mental.

It's not that much fun to be on the sidelines.

Sometimes you can do things that you didn't think you could.  When that happens, it feels really good.

It's a delicate dance to praise one kid while the other wallows on the sidelines feeling like they're not good enough.

Wall-Climbing is fun.  It's a test of character - and that's good - especially when it's really hard.
We think we'll do it again.


  1. Ha! I don't have a number three (well I kind of do, right now, but she isn't really 'mine.' Anyway, your first child/second child observations are EXACTLY the same as mine would be. In fact, Child #1, the fearless, daring, outspoken one, has never climbed a wall. Child #2, the quiet, gentle, cautious one, has climbed until his fingers were raw.

    Interesting, what our kids teach us.

  2. so neat you could observe your girls in action that way! Wall climbing is very HARD...I seriously could not climb the one at WBC, my legs just turned to jelly. Hannah, Sasha, and Ellie must have felt SO good just knowing they could do it!!

    i'm thinking I could have used Johnny at w.b.c. when I was attempting my climb. where the heck was he?