My guest today is another bloggy crush of mine.
I mean how can I not adore a woman who names her blog:
The Woven Moments: Embracing the Tangles, Loving the Knots?
She is just a beautiful soul, a fantastic mom and a writer that touches my heart with every word she publishes.
I believe I met her on Twitter, but since then, I have just sat in quiet awe of her talent and her brilliant way of weaving words to make me say, “YES! that’s how I feel” or “I really wish I could spin a story like she does” or even “she’s just the coolest.”No Really.
Plus she’s honest and REAL. Her voice is BIG and STRONG and NEEDED. Like I said, I just really adore Ryan.
I hope after you read this fantastic moment, you go over and follow her everywhere. That you see the brilliant soul I know she is and gobble up her words. She’s someone worth getting to know.
Here is my dear, wonderful friend Ryan, with her Proud Mommy Moment:
You know someone is special when her first tweet makes you feel like you’ve known her for years.
When her writing makes you take a deep breath and whisper at your computer screen, “Yeah. Me too.”
When you immediately respect her ability to write scintillating fiction one day and heart-wrenchingly honest personal reflections the next.
I knew right away that Kirsten was something special. I told her I was nervous about my PMM and really wanted to write something she and her readers would like. I shouldn’t have been surprised when she responded, “sweets ..it’s YOU, it’s YOUR moment, of course I’ll like it, I’ll LOVE it.”
Thank you, Kir. For always being a great cheerleader and for sharing your space today! I’m thrilled to share my Proud Mommy Moment with you and your wonderful readers.
As I sat in the Kindergarten promotion ceremony and I watched my 5 year old, blog name Peanut, sing her songs about rainbows and melting pots, I smiled and thought to myself: I’m so glad Kindergarten is over.
Don’t get me wrong, I was beyond excited on that rainy day in September to see my first child march onto that big yellow bus and into her elementary school years.
But the year was tougher than we anticipated. There were kids in Peanut’s class who were up to 2 years older than her, who had had 2 additional years of pre-school. One was reading Harry Potter. In Kindergarten. <insert my I‘m-desperately-trying-not-to-judge face>
Peanut couldn’t see that she was performing beautifully. She could only sense a major gap between her achievement and that of her classmates. As she learned to sound out letters, the majority of her classmates were reading chapter books. As she learned how to add numbers together, some of her friends were doing multiplication.
The result? Peanut started describing herself as ‘slow’ and ‘not smart.’ Even worse, she started avoiding new situations altogether. Peanut refused to join any activity involving a team or competition because she was sure she would lose. Even family board games were hard.
This school year, I watched her come off the bus in tears, struggle with her homework, and tell me that she hated school. I’ve watched her learn lessons that I never wanted for her. I’ve watched her hurt.
So for the last six months, we’ve been advocating hard in and out of school for our Peanut. We worked with teachers and friends and neighbors to set help her see that she is a success in every way. We implemented Operation Confidence to remind Peanut of everything she is already good at.
Most importantly, we were careful not to push her. Whether it was an after school science class or that new soccer team starting up, if she said she wasn’t interested then we stopped asking. Our hope was that giving her permission to say no to lots of things would create a safe place for her to find an interest and bring it to us.
But it hasn’t been easy.
How many times did I want to correct her letter spacing? Or tell her that you can’t begin writing a word on one line and complete it on another?
How many times did I see incorrect answers on her math homework and fight to keep my mouth shut?
How often did I see kids running and playing on the field during T-ball or kickball practice and worry that Peanut would never find joy in being part of a team?
I held out hope that one day Peanut would come to me with an idea. I imagined that one day she’d say, “Mommy? I want to try chess.” Or ice skating. I even prepared myself for cheerleading. I promised myself I’d let her pursue anything that interested her. And sure enough, just three weeks before the end of this tough school year, Peanut started talking about a new interest.
Hint: It wasn’t chess.
No, Peanut started asking about horses and telling me how much she wanted one. When I asked her what she would do if she had a horse, she talked about riding it through the forest and galloping through fields. She told me that she wished she could learn how to horseback ride.
Let’s pause here for a brief second to reflect on my terrible track record with horses. Considering the hijinx my brother and I endured on horseback in Indonesia (you can read about them here and here) and that one time I was on a horse that FAINTED AND FELL OVER WHILE I WAS SITTING ON IT, it’s not a huge leap to understand that this particular request struck terror into my heart.
But I did the research. And it turns out there’s a farm nearby that teaches young kids (as young as 5!) how to ride. They have an excellent reputation and invited me to come to the stables with Peanut before scheduling a lesson. The owner assured me that once Peanut saw how big a real, live horse is, she could very possible change her mind.
I was hopeful.
But when we got to the stables, Peanut’s eyes got as big as dinner plates when she saw those beautiful horses. It took her all of two minutes to turn around and ask me, “When can I start, Mama?”
I had promised myself to follow whatever interest Peanut brought up. I had made a vow that be it Sudoku or synchronized swimming, I would help her go for it. I hadn’t bet on her coming up with horseback riding but I hadn’t seen that light in her eyes for months. So I took a deep breath and scheduled a lesson.
A week later, we were back at the stables. Peanut was nearly flitting with excitement while I plastered a smile on my face and silently battled the nausea that had surfaced as we pulled in.
The lesson started out with an introduction to the equipment. Once she was suited up in her helmet and had all the gear, we went to meet the horse. Peanut spent a good 30 minutes in that horse stall just learning how to be around such a big animal in a small space. Peanut seemed cautious, even timid. Every time the horse sighed or stomped it’s foot, Peanut jumped and backed away. But the instructor was wonderful and she modeled how to touch and speak and relate to a horse.
Peanut learned a lot in those first few moments:
I couldn’t believe how quickly Peanut got comfortable with her horse, Xander. By the time she had walked Xander outside, it looked as if she’d been around horses her whole life. Within minutes of getting in the saddle, Peanut was sitting tall and maneuvering the horse around the ring by herself, with an I-can’t-believe-I’m-actually-doing-this look on her face.
Standing in the middle of that shaded ring, I felt the relief wash over me. Peanut may have had a tough year, but that light of hers was still there. I remembered that in tough situations that light may have flickered but it had never gone out. As she moved Xander through turns and stops and starts I watched her realize that she was naturally good at this. I saw her absorb the easy joy she was feeling. I saw her experiencing her own success.
It was all I could do not to kiss the instructor – and the horse – right then and there.
My proud mommy moment isn’t about Peanut being good at any one thing; it’s about her finding courage to try something new. That day at the stables, Peanut reminded me that courage isn’t about feeling brave and jumping in with both feet. Courage is just being willing to put one foot forward, even though you may not know where you are headed or how you’ll get there. Courage is not knowing how it’ll turn out and doing it anyway. Courage is being five years old and less than fifty pounds, walking into a stall alone with a 1,000 pound animal.
On the way home, Peanut asked me if she was going to ride horses for the rest of her life. When I told her that was up to her, I heard her whisper to herself in the backseat,
“Then I think I will.”
I’ll give you a minute to wipe your tears and take all that in. It’s amazing, right?
Now that you’ve met her…
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Ryan, I loved having you here today, part of my Day of 3′s.
I can’t think of one person I’d rather be hosting today.