When we travel to Fort Wayne, we have a routine. That routine involves packing our lunch and eating it in the mall food court. We do this for three reasons. First…it is much cheaper. Second…it is much healthier. Third…Maggie considers it a picnic, and she loves picnics.
Each time we do this we sit next to the carousel. Each time we sit by the carousel, Maggie is fascinated by the spinning world of monolithic animals. Each time she is fascinated by the spinning world of monolithic animals, those little invisible strings she has wrapped around my heart get tugged.
Monday…I caved and forked over the $2 so she could ride on one of the animals. She wanted to ride a lion…but there was no lion (some carousel), so she opted for a horse. I sat her on the horse, strapped her in, and stood beside her…probably enjoying it more than she did.
Then I saw it. As rapidly as you can imagine her chin was shaking. It was as if she was in the deep-freeze. I instantly knew she was not cold…because I knew at that moment, that while she seems to be the spitting image of my good qualities (and yes…I do have some) she also inherited my natural reaction to anxiety. We shake.
It is uncontrollable. Our bodies simply react to anxiety and nerves as though were were having chills. It was obvious to me that she was uncomfortable and scared. She was not so sure about this horse. Nor was she sure what to expect once it began to move. For this…I was so proud of her.
I cannot tell you how many times…especially in my younger years that the anxiety and fear kept me from doing some things. At her age…I probably would have cried (in fact…I did bawl my eyes out the first time I met Ronald McDonald. But…let’s face it…he is scary). Maggie, on the other hand, looked square in the face of her fear and anxiety and saw something else. She saw opportunity. No longer did she have to sit on the sidelines and watch other kids ride. Now…she got to ride. And…not matter how much anxiety was rushing through her chin…she was going to take this opportunity.
She loved it. Smiling from ear to ear the entire way. Laughing each time the horse went up…and again when it went down. Afterward, she ran to her mom yelling, “that was fun!”
I love my little girl! And I am so proud that she has the guts to face her very noticeable anxiety head-on. Just another lesson I can learn from a 2 year old.