Making it to the top

“Maria’s mom, Maria needs your help. She is way up in the tree.”

A boy in Maria’s first grade class ran towards me yelling those words.  I asked how high she was in the tree, and his eyes widened “she is really high!”  I walked over to the pine tree with him, ducked underneath the needles, and scanned my eyes from the bottom to the top.  I passed over a few kids on the first two branches.  Then no one.  As I scanned up towards the fifth or sixth branches, I spotted my little climber.  She was sitting on a high branch with her legs dangling over looking down at the crowd gathered below. 

“Do you need my help, Ri”, I asked her.

“No, mom, I can get down by myself.”

She stayed up a while longer.  It was only when everyone began to leave and I offered her a trip to Orange Leaf that she finally climbed down – without a problem. Maria is strong like her dad and me.  Her nickname in preschool was “the Muscle.”  She can tolerate pain better than most 6 year olds; heck, better than most 30 year olds.  We rode our bikes yesterday and she fell off right on her knees and hands.  I gasped fearing that she was really banged up.  As I approached her, I did not hear crying.  I picked her body up off the ground, and asked if she was ok.  Her friend ran over horrified asking “Maria, are you hurt?” 

Maria brushed her legs and arms off and told us she’d be ok.  She walked around for a minute, and then stated “Come on, let’s get to the park, people!”  Her friend stood amazed that she was not hurt.  While we walked down to the park, her friend admitted that she would have been bawling to her mom had it been her that fell.  “I know.  Most kids would be scared and hurt.  But Maria is a machine just like her mom and dad. She can take some pain.”

Maria looked over her shoulder at us and kept walking.  I could see a bit of a smile on her face as she turned around; I think she is quite proud of her pain tolerance.  That pain tolerance is what helps her climb so well, too.  She has to deal with the pricks of needles as she ascends, and the poking of tiny branches located randomly throughout the tree branches.  She has no fear of looking down from high above; if it was me, I would be sick to my stomach.  She is the same way when it comes to climbing walls.  She can scale up those things like it is nothing.  I have a feeling Jon and I are going to be watching her climbing some big ol’ mountain in Europe one day.

And I loved how all the boys were running around reporting that “Maria had climbed all the way up the tree.”  They were in awe without realizing it (heaven forbid that they were found to be in awe of a girl!).  I am in awe of her, too.  She is one strong, intrepid girl, and I am quite sure she will continue to produce more “awes” from all of us as we watch her grow up.

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