"Do you want to do this?"
"I don't know..."
I know that when Brother says, "I don't know"' it means "yes."
This picture looks so sad and desolate. He almost looks like a prisoner.
He almost was.
He almost let Fragile X get the best of him.
But, I think at this moment, he was gathering courage and saying a little prayer because 20 minutes later he looked like this:
You got it! He rock climbed today!
Let me start at the beginning.
Remember what I've told you about the last two days?
Well, during all that I was a tad panicked because I knew this activity was coming up.
Our good friend, Dan, has been offering to get our family out on an adventure and after some finagling and planning today was the day that was decided upon to introduce our 2 youngest to rock climbing.
Brother has rappelled before at scout outings and such and he has done a portable rock climbing wall in a youth activity. We hoped he would do this and that his sisters would at least give it a shot.
Sister woke up this morning telling me that she was scared to "rockiming." I reassured her that rock climbing would be great and would not be scary and we would be right there with her helping her.
Baby was completely oblivious to what we were going to do and had no desire change out of her night gown... believe me, I tried. It was the nightgown with leggings and tennis shoes and that was how it was going to work.
Brother was very excited to go. He really likes Dan and feels safe with him and he loves to do things that impress us. He's so cute that way.
We got to the Rock Canyon parking lot and things seemed to be going really well.
There had been no breakdowns or fall-aparts. Sister had shared her concerns and fears, but nothing putting her over the edge.
While we waited for Dan, our other friend, Mike and Daddy to come up with all the gear Sister was telling me how scary the mountains were and made sure to find a good walking stick for the hike up.
It was especially fun to watch Baby follow her sister around copying all the things she was doing like drawing in the dirt, searching for walking sticks and kicking up the dust. I just love watching Baby becoming so much more aware of the people around her and her desire to learn from them.
We were on our way up the trail to The Kitchen where we would be climbing with the kids.
|Our friend, Mike, is carrying a backpack on the front and back of him to help me out so I could carry Baby up the trail. She was either nervous or didn't like how her shoes felt... not quite sure.|
|I love this one with me and baby smiling at each other. (Dan was taking the photos)|
Once we got to the climbing spot Sister started to whine and whimper. It was a little embarrassing because her screams were echoing quite well of the surrounding rock walls.
I said a little prayer in my heart that she would be able to calm down without us having Ranger there for her. We didn't bring him because we weren't quite sure how he'd do with other dogs around (he's a barker) and we both weren't sure we could handle him and the kids.
Little miracle... a woman cam walking up the trail with 2 small dogs and she picked up on Sister's panic and its affect on the other two and she immediately introduced her dogs to the kids and let them pet them and play with them until Sister calmed down. I am thankful for the tender mercies God sends and I hope that that woman believed my sincere thank you's.
After that Sister was calm enough to give scrambling a try up the rocks to where Dad, Dan, and Mike were setting up for the climb. Brother was already doing it and she decided she was going to be brave. It wasn't long before Baby gave it a shot too.
That's when I took this picture:
I already had tears in my eyes at this point because I was so happy to see her trying and to see how brave Brother was about going up.
When we were all getting ready and harnessed up Sister began to fall apart again. I'm sure the passers-by were a bit concerned hearing her screams and I know we may have set some panic nearby as her intensely high-pitched screams would travel the canyon walls. Eventually, though, she kept it to a small whimper and loud complaint every so often, so it was do-able.
Dan was so good about helping Brother with his gear and I had to take a quick picture with my phone to capture the first few moments:
The kids huddled themselves together to protect their over-sensitive bodies from the wind that was coming down the canyon trails. I was so happy that I followed some quiet promptings and brought favorite blankets and foods for them. It helped in the calming and familiarity realms.
|Dan got this shot and Brother makes me laugh...|
We thought it would go best if the kids could watch us climb first so they could see that it was safe and fun. Brother even promised he would go up after I did.
Marc and I couldn't wipe the smiles off of our faces—even with Sister still whimpering below.
Dan was getting shots from above while Mike was belaying below:
|I'm so glad Marc captured this look on my face. It makes me laugh so hard because I think I was saying, "OK, I haven't done this in years... don't expect to much from me..."|
I did it!
I loved it!
I fear I am addicted and am not sure I'll be able to get enough climbing in....
This is a shot that Marc got of Dan multi-tasking
photographing me and taking video at the same time.
|I love how this one turned out.|
After some coercing and encouragement Brother decided it was time for him to ascend and he made sure to say that Sister was going to go up after him. He was setting the example for her.
Once we got him roped in, he was terrified.
His jaw quivered feverishly as he approach the rock wall.
Then he just curled into in the rock wall and kept saying, "This is scary. This is really scary Momma!"
I knew I was going to have to push him a little bit so I started by bringing his leg up to the first step.
He got his first step in and I thought I was going to cry then as I watch his jaw quiver with fear knowing how badly he was wanting to overcome.
Dan stepped in so I could take more pictures and was very encouraging to Brother.
|Frozen in fear on his first step but still willing to go further.|
Dan and I stepped in a couple of times to lift his fear-frozen leg to the next step.
I was so happy to see Baby getting brave and wanting to get in on the action on her own terms... hey, I'll take what she'll give. I was proud. At this point Sister was just very excited and anxious to see her Brother get to the top just like her mom and dad did.
I had told Brother at the beginning that he didn't have to go to the top and could just go as far as he could and pointed out a spot that had some plants growing out of the rock and challenged him to, at least, go that far.
The picture below is him stopping to pull the weeds.
We all laughed at that.
He then found a spider and squealed with terror, but then picked it up and threw it down on Dan... ha! (We have this all on video too.)
And here is is! Higher than the weeds he was pulling and about half way to the top! We all cheered and told him how proud we were.
He couldn't wipe the pride off his face even during his rappel down.
Yes, I cried.
Brother said I could.
But, I haven't even told you the best part yet.
When Dan was up cleaning up the ropes and getting things put away (all while Sister is having a complete and total melt-down because she was angry that Brother didn't go to the top like he was supposed to--she makes it hard sometimes to revel in the moments...) Brother scrambled up behind him because he was so proud of himself.
As Dan was working Brother said to him, "Kids with Fragile X would never do this."
Dan replied, "You just did. You're breaking barriers man!"
Brother responded with a huge smile, "Yeah, I am breaking barriers!"
I couldn't be prouder.
Well, then Brother came to tell me, with a huge grin on his face, "I was being social, Mom."
OK, I just got prouder.
And don't worry, we all went to Wendy's after and Sister told everyone that she had a lot of fun...
My UPs were all the way UP today. It makes days like the last few seem so far away.
Day 290 of 365 Days of Up