The Ladder Of Life

My husband and I are not the planning type. At all. So on the last day of winter vacation week we decided last minute that we would take the train into Boston to see Disney On Ice. We took the 3 older kiddos, as Jack is not quite ready for that just yet and he happily stayed back with Mimi and Grampy for the day.

Everything we did was such an adventure for the kids; from riding the train, enjoying a nice lunch in the city to watching a great ice skating performance. I must have said “Imagine if Jack was here” or “Jack would LOVE this” at least a dozen times to Matt and the kids.

I know Jack is not quite ready for that type of adventure just yet and I was sure he was having a great time back with Mimi and Grampy. Then, I received the picture. Sweet Jack climbing an old ladder out in the yard.

I couldn’t take my eyes away from it. The proud look on my baby boy’s face. The accomplishment he felt for making his way up like that seemed to radiate through the picture.
Then, it hit me. This picture was a perfect metaphor for life. We all have a ladder to climb. Learning, experiencing all along the way up. Jacks ladder looks very different than the ladder of most kids his age. His ladder has some unique obstacles. The beautiful part, however, is that he doesn’t focus on that. He looks forward, he adjusts and does what he can to keep moving upward.

But what I realized is that each and every one of us has a unique ladder to climb. Sometimes it gets slippery. Some ladders are taller than others. Some are rickety, while others are sturdy. Some have wider boards making it easier to climb. Sometimes it gets wobbly, sometimes it feels like the ladder may break.

As I starred at that boys sweet face high up on that ladder, I realized something…
No matter what obstacles we come across during our “ladder of life,” what truly matters is our perspective during the climb and how we look up to the next step of our ladder. No matter how difficult our journey may be going up, it is so important to appreciate how far we have come, and more importantly to keep moving forward. To enjoy the journey up our ladder. If we stumbled up a few steps on the way, to try harder on the next steps in front of us. To appreciate the uniqueness of our own ladder, for no two are exactly the same.

So, friends, no matter what YOUR ladder looks like, I hope you relish in the fact that we are all so very blessed to be climbing our own ladders. What makes life beautiful is how very different each and every one of those journeys up that ladder is.0D0CC712-1132-4071-B9E2-44B5B59CF173


There Is Magic That Awaits On The Other Side Of Fear

“Now how many more days, mama!?” my sweet 5 year old asked eagerly as he stood on his bed reaching up to cross off yet another day on his calendar.
“That’s it, buddy… just one more sleep and tomorrow is your first day of ice hockey. It’s finally here! So exciting, isn’t it?” I happily replied, with a bit of relief that the 20+ times a day of this same question would now come to an end.

The next morning, a delicious scent of our traditional Saturday morning pancakes and bacon filled the house. As I entered the kitchen with the littlest on my hip, I kissed my husband as he handed me my morning fuel and I could hear Cam excitingly reminding his sisters that today was his day, his very “fourst day of hockey.”

After everyone’s belly was full, my husband and I discussed the days schedule and firmed up who was going where. Then it was finally time for Cam to get going with daddy and head out for his big day. As I helped my boy find his missing boot in the pile of snow gear, he grew quiet… then, I heard his sweet crackly voice whisper “mama, I don’t want to go,” as he burst into tears and reached for me.
“Oh Cam… what’s wrong buddy? You were so excited. What happened?”
As he fought through tears trying to explain how he was scared and just didn’t want to go, my heart sank.
You see, my Cam has always been this little fearless ball of energy. A funny, witty, confident, mischievous, smart boy – a tiny clone of his dad. No wonder why I just adore this boy oh so very much. But as I have found in life, starting something new can be scary. Hesitation can take over our minds; filling it with doubts, what-ifs and fear.

As I held my little trembling man and felt his warm tears falling from his eyes onto my own cheek, every fiber of me felt his fear. A tiny part of me wanted to let him stay home and start when he felt ready, but a bigger part of me knew this was my moment to put my big girl parent pants on and encourage him. After 8+ years of parenting, one would think this would be easy, but it’s still quite the struggle for me. I squeezed him tight, then gently pulled him slightly away so he could see my eyes as I spoke to him…
“Cam, this is all normal. Feeling afraid before we start something new is normal. I still feel scared before I start anything new too, buddy. But you know what? You’re going to get past that fear and when you’re out on that ice you will feel something amazing. Believing in yourself is one of the absolute best feelings in the world. Go have fun, bud. Daddy will be right there with you, cheering you on. I want to hear all about it when you get home. I love you.”
And just like that, he was out the door. My heart ached a bit as I watched the car pull out of the driveway, hoping it was all going to go well.

A short time later, my phoned buzzed. And there it was, Cam’s ear to ear smile on the ice, proud as can be. Oh the joy I felt staring at that picture. Moments later, a second picture arrived with a note that read “He already ditched the walker!” I could just picture dad’s proud face cheering him on. I was so proud of Cam for fighting through that fear and realizing the joy and pride on the other side.

Cam hockey 2

As we get older, these fears all too often paralyze us and hold us back from attempting new things. Whether it’s writing that book you’ve always dreamed of writing, starting that new business that you have been thinking about, training for that half marathon you’ve always wanted to do. Just as a child sometimes needs that reassurance and support, often times we desperately need that as adults as well.

So next time you hear of or see someone post about something new that they started – a new sport, a new business, a new blog, a new job, a new school, etc – remember that you are seeing the highlight reel. Remember that there was most likely a moment of fear, of hesitation, of doubt that they had to get through in order to arrive at that new venture. Cheer them on. Congratulate them. Tell them how proud you are of them. Believe me, they will appreciate it.

I pray that my husband and I can instill the determination and confidence in all of our children to fight through that fear and hesitation of new beginnings. I also hope that you yourself fight through those feelings when something inside you desires to try something new.  Because there truly is magic awaiting on the other side – just ask Cam.


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