This summer Miss S turned seven and her world cracked open. Laughter that had always been bubbling below the surface erupted. There was joy and enthusiasm in everything she did. Confidence exuded from her pores. I found myself on more than one occasion, mouth open, filled with pride, wondering: who was this masked girl?
It started with the bike park. Where once Miss S only wanted to pedal the flat path between two runs, or cry, she became fearless, and at the gentle peer pressure of her older sister, tested hillier trails. Suddenly she was zooming down intermediate runs, with a gigantic grin plastered on her face.
Okay, full disclosure: she did break the visor of her bike helmet when she went headfirst into a compact dirt slope. But even that didn’t stop her. Some snuggles and sips of water, and she was back in the saddle, giggling about her visorless helmet, zip zap zooming again.
At the pool Miss S discovered the one-meter diving board. Over and over and over again she jumped into the dark blue water – we’re talking forty-five minutes or more of jumping, climbing out and then jumping again.
Her enthusiasm for this newfound skill was so contagious that on one visit, I decided to honour my inner acrobat, and
showoff, show Miss S a new skill.
Toes curled over the edge of the board, I swung my arms and sprung into action. My beautiful, high arching dive would have given any Olympian a run for
their money. The landing: a perfect 10.
Miss S waited for me to get out of the way, walked to the edge of the board and, without hesitation, dove in.
Nary a splash, compared to my blue whale awooga, her first ever diving board plunge looked like a penguin slipping into the water.
It’s amazing what happens when confidence collides with happy.
She didn’t care when the attendance list for her birthday party was stuck at zero. “I still get to do everything I want and have cake,” she told me.
And when she jumped onto a log that was half in the water and half on the beach, but more in the water than she first calculated, and she was pitched into the frigid Pacific, all she could do was shriek and laugh until her sides hurt about how wet she was.
But the summer wasn’t all smiles. A cloud rolled in when ever anyone mentioned her two front teeth. She was quite pleased they were loose and quite displeased when anyone suggested she make them both fall out at Christmas.
She was even more displeased when her older sister slid down the slip ‘n slide and knocked the first one out. Even though the tooth was literally hanging by a root, the fact it had been knocked out before its time angered our little Leo.
When days later, the second one finally fell out, the cloud lifted and Miss S was happy to place it under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy… and finally found humour in how the first was lost.
P.S. She makes an adorable walrus.
July and August were sweaty, dirty, chlorine, with ice cream on top, filled months. They were an opening act to a fall that has been full with grade two, Brownies, bell choir, friends, and of course, monkey bars, Miss S’s latest accomplishment.
With all children, there is a feeling of hope and excitement for the future. But spend some time with Miss S, these days, and you will realize how truly wonderful the future is shaping up to be.