(I found this draft for a blog post of mine while I was cleaning out some files. Enjoy!)
“Need help?” Responding to that little voice, I turn around and see Amy sitting in the snow, her blue snowsuit keeping her 2 ½ year old body warm, her skies splayed out to one side. She is calmly looking up at me, knowing I will momentarily reach down and pull her to her feet.
I love this little girl. Amy is a child who will wiggle her way deep into your heart faster than it takes her to choose a book and wiggle into your lap. She is bright, articulate, affectionate, and adventurous. She is a delight. Since she was born, her parents take her on “adventures”- swimming adventures, snow adventures, library adventures, among many others. Her first hiking adventure came at six weeks old and she has been on the trails ever since.
This winter, Amy’s mom Melody and I have taken her on several snow adventures complete with little skis that strap onto Amy’s feet. Unlike nearly every other child I know, Amy is content to sit in her car seat and look at books for hours of driving, or just look out the windows. Arriving at the snow, Melody and I strap snowshoes to our feet and the skis to hers. When we first started teaching Amy to ski, Melody and I each held one of her mittened hands and pulled her along, sliding her along in the snow. We then taught her how to “poke-poke” with her poles for balance but as she has gained experience, she now prefers not to use them and can even slide downhill a little bit. For rests, Melody pulls behind her a little sled but Amy usually prefers not to use it, she would rather be on her skis or walking in the snow, taking “deep snow breaks” periodically. We ask her if she wants help once in a while and she replies, “Ski by myself?” She is not asking for permission. She ends her sentence in an upward inflection but we know she is quite determined in her decision.
Periodically, Amy falls and we hear her say, “Need help?” Leaning over or walking back, one of us cheerfully takes a hold of her snowsuit and pulls her back to her feet. I have learned so much from these two words of Amy’s and our response to them, that it has made me see myself and God in a new way. When Amy falls, we never hear her say, “Idiot? I keep falling? I’m a bad skier!” Nor do we ever tell her, “Amy! Why can you not stay on your feet! You are a terrible skier! I am not picking you up again! You are on your own!” Once in a while, we do encourage her to try getting up on her own and she is learning she can do this at times but we never reject her or refuse to be there when she needs us. We delight in her learning process, we delight in her joy. Cameras in hand, we tell her, “Good job!” CLICK CLICK. Falling doesn’t bother us. Melody and I don’t see it as a bad thing, it’s simply a part of learning how to ski.