As has become our annual tradition on Valentine's day, Eliot and I went to Build-A-Bear to find the perfect bear to add to her collection. I started this tradition for her first Valentine's and we've been every year since. In years past, it's been a lot of fun for me to watch her take it all in and try to get her to understand what was happening. Every year she did better than the last, but she never quite got the concept which made for some fun times. This time was cool because it was the first year that she really knew the program and fully understood what she was there to do. The result was one very fluffy panda bear named Spots and one very happy little girl!
As you can see from the pictures, I decided to add a little adventure to our annual Valentine's tradition. Once the Build-A-Bear mission was complete, off we went to The Main Event where they have an incredible indoor rock climbing facility. Eliot had tried to do climb one of these walls about 18 months ago at one of our church events, but she was way too small. I really don't think she was officially big enough to do this one either, but the staff didn't check her and we didn't offer it up. As you can probably also tell by the pictures, what she lacked in size, she made up for in attitude...there was no fear in her as she attacked these 30' walls!!
On the first couple of tries, she got stuck after she got about 1/3 of the way up on the vertical walls so I moved her over to one of the angled walls. She quickly scrambled her way to the top and rang the bell! After that, there was no stopping her. She handled about five of the different walls, including two that were vertical and one that had a pitch change about half way up. She went for an hour non-stop - I had to drag her off the wall when our time was up!!
To understate it just a bit - I was one proud daddy! Not so much with how well she did, but with the spirit she carried as she took on this new challenge. I didn't tell her anything about what we had in store for the day so she knew nothing about the rock climbing walls until we got there. When she saw the walls and realized what we were there to do, she was all in. She didn't get frustrated when she got stuck and she even ignored my attempts to coax her over to some of the easier walls. She simply said, "I just have to try, Daddy. As long as you try, you can do it, right?" Though not 100% accurate in her statement, I was bursting when she echoed back to me one of the many lessons Casey and I have tried to teach her from the day she was born!
I've always been a little cynical about the most pernicious of the Hallmark holidays, but I've got to say I am now a full fledge convert to the ways of the Valentine. To put it simply, Valentine's ROCKS!!!