We have been blessed with two equally wonderful, yet distinctly different daughters. God knew that it would be so much more fun to keep us on our toes with this parenting thing, so he made sure they treat every aspect of life from a unique perspective.
Our 9 year old Cailin wants to do everything. From field hockey to science fairs, from gymnastics to theater, the girl is there! What is her vehicle for choice as an adult? A harley. Skydiving? Sounds fun! Offer it up, and her answer has always been a resounding "YES!". I joke that when dropping her off somewhere new ( It could be a hell's angel rally for pete's sake!) I just need to slow down long enough for her to jump out and race inside to see WHAT.FUN.THING.SHE.CAN.TRY.
I love this fearless attitude of hers, since I have always been a thinker. Ponderer. Control Freak. Whatever you call it, I have not been the sort to jump feet first into things. I want to know what I am getting into, decide if I want to get into it, and then slowly tiptoe into the waters of life. My husband, on the other hand, has always thrilled me with his "can do" attitude. It is part of what attracted me to him and a large reason we have so many fun adventures as a family. Though I must point out that we know how to get where we are going because I have planned the way. And brought snacks. And a rubbermaid container with wet wipes, trash bags, paper towels and an assortment of educational activities for the kids.
But I digress. The point is that I love Cailin's zest for new things, and assumed that both my daughters would be blessed with Daddy's adventurous spirit since they so obviously received my temperament. I was wrong. Cassidy is very much her mother's daughter.
This weekend was the ulitmate eye opener in just how different the girls are in this regard. For the first time ever, Cassidy had asked to play on a sport's team. She chose soccer, since field hockey (her sister's favorite) is "too dangerous! You shouldn't run with sticks!". So we signed her up, thrilled that she had asked to do something.
Of course, as soon as I signed her up, and paid the registration fee, and the late registration fee, and bought the cute new outfit and duffle bag and mouthguard and cleats and sticker for the car (oh yeah- she could have whatever she wanted. We.were.excited!) she panicked and cried hysterically that she hated soccer and didn't want to do it. OK, well now we had a problem, and not even the one related to how much money Daddy just spent at Play It Again Sports. The problem is that we had been praying with her and working hard at helping her overcome fear and the grip it holds on her little heart. If we let her continue to quit everytime she was nervous, there was the very real concern that she might wind up living in our basement with her 23 cats at the age of 45. We firmly believe that once in awhile you just have to face fear and give things a shot.
We gently explained to her that we are not setting our hopes on seeing her in the Olympics, and that she only has to do this one season, but that she asked to do it, we didn't force her, and now she was going to honor that commitment. (I think we showed amazing restraint in not whipping out the receipt and reminding her of our commitment!) We knew that she really wanted to do it and it was only her self consciousness making her hesitant. She came home with all her new stuff and played with her pink soccer ball every day until practice began. When her daddy took her to the first practice she scampered happily off to join the ranks of the Great Suburban American child as a soccer player.
Whew. Bullet dodged. We stuck to our guns and it worked. She was happy and loved soccer. We were super parents! Right.
All the patting ourselves on the back came to a screeching halt this weekend when it was time for her first game. She had spent the night at Nana and Papa's, and Nana was bringing her home to get ready for the game when I got the call. From Nana on her cell phone. Outside the house. Calmly, (she is a counselor, she knows how to talk to hysterical mothers even before they become hysterical) she tells me they have a bit of a dilemma, but that she is totally prepared to handle it. Just wants me to know. The dilemma being Cassidy doesn't want to come to her game, and as such has locked her out of the house and won't let her back in!!! Now I must interject that this is not typical. Noone has ever been locked out by Cassidy to my knowledge. This is obviously BIG. Oh, mercy. So Nana proceeds to tell me she has it "totally under control. Ccassidy doesn't know she has a key under the planter and as we speak she is unlocking the door." Except that she is smarter than Nana gave her credit for (which is super smart since Nana has been convinced since birth that she is gifted, absolutely gifetd. Perhaps a genius.) and has also locked the deadbolt. Nana decides she will call me back. OK then.
Ultimately Cassidy decides to let Nana in, and then defers to her backup plan of hiding in her closet until which time Nana encourages her to come out and come home so she can hand her over to her mother. So we can go to the game where she refuses to leave the hot, cramped van despite bribes of ice cream, littlest pet shop toys, and (wishful thinking from her sister) a nintendo. Thank goodness that one didn't work.
Finally Daddy arrives back from his 10K in Richmond (see- he is fun I tell you!) to join us on the sidelines. One word from daddy and she happily goes to him, lets him put her mouth guard in and trots across the field to join her teammates. Wow. Of course she does, she would do anything for her him. He is her hero.
I guess she is more like me every day!