Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Courage Under Fire

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." -John Bingham

When you least expect it, your child will teach you a lesson. Without even trying. Such was the case as the peanut and I went for a late evening walk with Luna one night this week.

Since my wife worked a little later than usual, we ate dinner a little later than usual. Right before we were finished she asked, "Daddy, are you taking Luna for a walk?" After I answered her yes, after dinner, she asked, "May I please come with you?" She had been such a good girl at dinner. And I can't say no when she asks so perfectly. Despite the late hour.

We finished our meal and I took the dishes into the kitchen to be done after we put the peanut to bed. I told her I was ready to go. "But, daddy, I need to draw a map first."

Cue the roll of the eyes, slumping of the shoulders, and bubbling up of annoyance. I only did this knowing she couldn't see me.

"Ok, sweetie. But it's already bedtime and it's getting dark. So we have to hurry." Within two minutes we were out the door, each of us with our map. Of course, I was thinking to myself that maybe I could turn the whole drawing a map thing into a blogable moment.

And as I was formulating that post in my head, halfway down our block, she tripped on the sidewalk. It happened out of nowhere. There wasn't even something to trip over.

Ouch (yes, I took pictures).
She landed on both knees and hands. A bad fall. She immediately started crying. And I could tell by the severity that this was no normal cry, this was no normal fall. I lifted her up and saw the nastiest of nasty scrapes on her knee. My poor baby.

She was so excited to be rewarded with this walk and all I could do was be annoyed. And now she's in my arms, bleeding and crying. You can imagine how poorly I felt.

I carried her home, while seeing at least three of our neighbors out of the corner of my eye looking on with concern on their faces. Luna, meanwhile, is utterly confused at this point. Having dropped her leash, she's still walking towards the park. I call her to join us, pick up the leash again, and proceed to drag her back home while carrying my broken peanut.

Required Two Dora Band-Aids
We get back to the house and I call for my wife to come tend to the peanut. I leave Luna, still wearing her leash, on the front lawn. My wife takes over. I look out the front door to find Luna laying on the front lawn, waiting and wondering.

We tend to the peanut. I don't want to leave but my wife says, "I'll take care of you while daddy walks Luna." And this is where she dropped the lesson without even trying.

"No," she said through her sobs and tears. "I still want to go with them."
Map in hand, ready to go again

Amazing. Simply amazing. We were floored. It's not that she was being unreasonable. She was telling us she was going to be ok enough to go for the walk. 

Luna, ever patient, is still laying out there waiting. We grab our maps and her leash and head off for our walk again. This time, holding hands. This time, I'm paying closer attention.

After Luna did her business and we we headed home, the peanut said she didn't want to walk anymore. "I'm tired, daddy."

Usually, I would give her my "this is a walk" line, and we don't carry you on a walk. But this time I gave in. This one time. I picked up my wounded little warrior and carried her home. Her reward for teaching me about courage, innocence, excitement, and perseverance all at once.

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