Friday, October 24, 2014

Ellie's 8th Birthday

I just had a wonderful weekend with my daughter for her 8th birthday.  Last year I made a promise to her that I would visit her on her birthday each year.  Finally, without graduate school and with a steady job and can now afford the trips and get her a nice present each year.  She really is growing up fast!  Let’s see, highlights… she can cartwheel with the best of them, she is getting pretty good at violin, and she’s quite the climber and gymnast!
I got in Saturday morning after a long redeye flight through Chicago that I was thankfully able to sleep decently on.  We stopped for coffee when I got there Nicolette gave me some leftovers for lunch before we went to watch Ellie’s soccer game.  Apparently she got pegged in the head the week before and was a bit timid on the field when the ball came near her.  She certainly didn’t like being put in goal at the end.  I think she was a little nervous out there with me watching as well.  When we got back to the house Nicolette took off to set up the charity fund raiser for a friend and Ellie and I hung out at home and played with the Magnatile set I gave her as a present with her friend Victoria who stopped by.

That night we all went to a charity drive for a family friend of Nicolette’s who has a form of cancer.  I felt a little out of place but donated as much as could to help the cause and even won a great Ron Swanson poster while doing so.  That night Ellie through a tantrum that I would call a child poltergeist!  Slamming doors screaming, crying.  I yi yi. I almost wanted to record it for a funny memory to share with her when she goes to college, but she quieted down before I could :)  hehe.  

On Sunday I was fortunate to not have to go to church and instead stayed home with Ellie to hang out.  We watched a bunch of episodes of “Good Luck Charlie” before heading out in the sunny afternoon to get her back on her bike… her bike that I got her last year that hasn’t been ridden since…   We went to the park and just like last year she was picking it up very quick and she fit the bike much better this year as well.  She even was able to start on her own on a bunch of occasions.  She was doing so well and it deeply saddens to me to think that as soon as I leave nobody will give her the opportunity to ride it again until I see her again….

We also spent some time on the playground where I was absolutely amazed at Ellie’s strength.  She climbed up the metal struts of the swingset all the way to the top, and crossed over to the other side.  The swingset was 3 times as tall as her and she didn’t bat an eye at doing it.  And I had no worry watching her doing it.  If she felt comfortable, go for it I say!  There were two other little girls that she met on the playground who got her on a tire swing to spin her around really fast.  She loved that!  She’s so social with everyone she meets, super cute!

On Sunday night we went out for dinner at the Mad Anthony Brewing Company with Nicolette and her sister Amber.  I think Nicolette likes to have someone there with her with me around because of her dislike for me.  I really like Amber and her husband Tim and their kids Katelyn and Owen.  I’m super glad Ellie has them in her life as I think they are great influences.  I’d love to see Ellie get outside and go on more adventures with them as they grow up nearby.  

Monday turned out to be a disaster, not so much for Ellie and I but for the relationship between Nicolette and I.  Ellie asked me again on Monday morning if I believed in God and on 2nd thought I decided she was old enough to know the truth and I told her no, I don’t and I’m not religious, aka, not a Christian.  This of course really upset her and she told me repeatedly how bad it was and even went so far as to pull out about 8, yes 8, children’s bibles to try to convince me that God created everything…. I listened patiently and told her I was happy that she had God in her life.  

While also asking simple questions I thought she should ponder at her age such as, is God a woman or man, and what about the dinosaurs?  I’m glad she goes to church and loves God and Jesus but as she gets older I also want her to think critically and reason things out, not just accept everything blindly and I will encourage these thoughts as I see proper throughout the coming years.  I could go on and on about my thoughts on how her mom his bringing her up, but I will leave it as me being very concerned.  But she is happy and healthy now so for now, I’m going to let things be.

Before I flew out on Monday Ellie also showed me her skills with the violin and we had a wonderful “adventure” which consisted of me walking 3 blocks with her to the river front (which she told me amazingly she hadn’t been to yet).  We collected leaves, rocks, and explored the various bugs and critters we found along the way.  In the smallest way, this is as close as I can come to taking her on a real hike with things really worth seeing.  Fort Wayne doesn’t really have any great wild places which is really too bad.  She brightened my heart when she told me she wishes she could go on all the adventures Emily and I do with us and that she wants to be a “country girl”, not a city girl.  

I can’t wait until she gets old enough to fly out here by herself and spend a few weeks with Emily and I in the summer.  Rafting, hiking, crabbing, exploring the ocean beaches, climbing through snow, caving, biking… will blow her mind!  So excited.  We finished our little trek downtown where we bought some ice cream and hot chocolate.  Yeah, I know I was filling her full of sugar for the night but after her mom came home and dropped some dead bunny devastation on her that wasn’t necessary at all while I was there, I didn’t feel bad about it.   

I did come away from the visit feeling guilty though.  I don’t talk to her enough.  Up till now it’s been tough on the phone because she’s always been a little child - very distracted, hard to understand, uninterested, etc.  But this visit I felt a real connection with her and I feel like we can finally have long thoughtful conversations so I plan on making much more frequent calls to her to just chat and stay close.  :)  She’s adorable and I want her to know I think about her all the time!  

It was an interesting trip home with a 7 hour nap in the San Francisco Airport overnight on a sleeping pad I had packed with me…. well worth the effort to see my adorable little girl for her 8th birthday!

No comments: