Climbing Higher on Her Own (Fostering independence, Building confidence, Adventure, Friends and mentors)

We’ve known Delania for six years. She used to rent from me, starting when my Isabella had just turned three. She lived with us for a few years and then returned back to Orlando.

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Delania has three grown children of her own, and Isabella reminded her of her own daughter and times gone by. They connected instantly, and Isabella blossomed with her attention.

There would be no way to sum up all the caring and time and affection that Delania contributed to my daughter in those years. Besides the good times at our house throwing parties, Delania brought adventure to our lives. She’s lively and got us into building bonfires out back and camping.

It was sad when she moved on, but I was grateful that she had come into Isabella’s life and provided all that nurturing along with my own efforts. She vowed to stay in touch and a part of Isabella’s life, and she did.

A month ago, she and I planned the next trip for Isabella to see her and to have some new adventures together.

Finally, this was the weekend to go to Delania’s.

We arrived in Orlando Friday night, toured Disney Springs and then went to the town of Celebration, a Disney designed town on Saturday morning. Finally, it was my time to leave. Delania had looked up possible adventure and was suggesting zip lining and obstacle courses on ropes in trees. I thought it sounded great.

Isabella clammed up and said she didn’t want to do it. We had done a small zip lining and tree rope course locally, but this would be much more challenging.

We talked about honoring her own instincts but also being open. Then, they drove off. It’s always sad watching your daughter drive off. But I was also happy, because the whole trip with what would amount to eight hours of driving was to give my daughter a great weekend that would be fun and foster her independence and inner strength.

I had given Delania my debit card to pay for whatever came up. A few hours after we parted, I checked my bank account and smiled when I saw that a charge had been made for the zip lining place.

Late at night, I couldn’t take it anymore. Finally, I sent a text message…

“Any pics?”

“Everything okay?”

Turns out Delania was just getting ready to send them. Videos started streaming in, one after another of her zip lining and making her way through rope obstacles courses high up in the trees. I was so proud and happy and sent a message to that fact.

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She responded back telling me that she was so proud of herself, too. Delania added a couple text messages to tell me that Isabella had grown a lot as a person this weekend. Clearly, Delania had made her feel safe but also nudged her persistently into new territory.

Sappy Daddy alert.

No, I didn’t cry, but my eyes did moisten. There was my nine-year old girl, out of town on her own with our friend, stretching herself into new personal power. I was so happy. It was the perfect Father’s Day gift, one day early, not that I needed one.

Today, I’ll be driving back up there to meet them, taking my parents with me. The five of us will have dinner in Disney Springs and conclude the weekend.

 

 

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