After a few weeks of nonstop rain and a bajillion cancelled games, softball is finally underway. I’m happy to report that the early onslaught of crippling fear you displayed upon hearing the words “softball” has taken a back seat to joy and excitement. You’re with a bunch of outgoing girls and thankfully they all appear to be very warm and accepting of new faces. You’re not a stellar player by any means but you’re learning the game, making new friends and above all, appear to be having a tremendous amount of fun. This is all I could ask for.
You’re excited when it’s game day but I don’t necessarily think the excitement is to play but rather to hang out in the dugout where you try to slap each other’s buttocks and scream out cheers for the duration of the game. It’s true, you would rather spin in the outfield and watch your shadow than actually catch a pop-up but I’m not mad. At least you’re out there giving it a try. The real reason I believe you wanted to play softball was so that you could play with the boys in the court and my belief was confirmed recently when I was helping you practice hitting in the driveway and a couple of the neighbors came over and wanted to hit as well. You were so giddy and smitten, I thought your little head was going to explode. What was even cuter was watching one of the boys show you how to hold the bat and how to hit the ball properly. I swear, you floated around the house that night feeling all the feels and Dad continued to curse his luck that he has a daughter.
This past month, you were the recipient of the Scholarship award in your class and I’m beyond overjoyed and proud of all your accomplishments in school this year. You know what? No, I’m proud of you even if you didn’t get an award but I’m happy to see your hard work being acknowledged by your teachers. Each trimester, each class awards three students with three different awards: Most Improved, Citizenship and Scholarship and you were awarded the Scholarship award for “being one of the hardest workers in class.” You continue to love school despite me scratching my head at the new math you’re doing–so many word problems and Algebra–blech! Clearly your love of math stems from your Dad because I despised math. I feel like I’m having a stroke when I attempt math. You have a pretty strong work ethic too. You come home on Monday with your homework folder that contains a week’s worth of homework and you always like to do everything at one time so you can “get it over with already.” This tells me that due to the nature of you and your brother being exact opposites in everything, he will no doubt struggle with procrastination. That or he’ll just pay you to do it for him. I say, take his money.
Being the little lover of learning that you are, you jumped at the opportunity to participate in your school’s science fair. Fifth graders have to participate but other grades can participate voluntarily. You took a tried and true experiment of my younger days where you feed plants using various liquids to see how those compare to traditionally giving plants water. The complete experiment took less than a month but after week one of doing the experiment and writing down your observations, you were visibly over it. When it came time to actually putting together your presentation board, I thought you were going to keel over in agony. That is until I showed you Google Docs. Wow! You were amazed. You were stunned. You were overcome with joy! I can write anything in any fancy letters and it tells me if I spelled the word wrong?! Once I showed you how to type, select all and change the font and font size, you were hooked. You spent hours at my computer typing away. Had I known this was the key to a few hours to myself, I would have showed you various Google products much sooner! Suddenly you’re a Google believer and now share with people that when you grow up, you want to work for Google or be a swimmer-astronaut-professional softball player-artist-paleontologist. I’m happy to hear you’re keeping your options open.
Tomorrow we’re departing on our first international trip as a family and I’ll admit that I’m one ball of anxiety right now. Just last week, there was a bombing at the Brussels airport that is a mere 125 miles from Amsterdam, where we will be vacationing for the better part of our trip. Am I scared to bring my family so close to a city that has just been victim to a terrorist attack. Hell yes! Did I think about cancelling our trip? Shit yes! You and Miles have no clue to the events happening at this time and I have no intention of telling you. This trip is your first experience at seeing the world and I don’t want your first international experience to be one of fear. Your Dad and I had the untimely luck of traveling to Paris and London just a couple months after 9/11 and I remember vividly our layover in New York, as we were accompanied by a handful of military guys holding rifles as we retrieved our luggage from baggage claim. Not exactly the welcoming committee you want to see when you’re about to embark on your first international adventure but we powered through and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Had I cancelled that trip out of fear, I would have missed out on such an amazing trip.
So, I find myself again preparing to travel internationally post-terrorist attack only this time, I have you and Miles with me. I’m scared and anxious and excited and overwhelmed and I can’t wait for the damn trip to happen already. I’ve planned every aspect of this trip for the last two months and with the most recent events, I’ve put myself in overdrive, trying to distract myself from the anxiety I’m feeling. I love the idea of traveling and I’m hoping this becomes a yearly tradition for us but at this moment, I’m nervous. Thankfully, my numerous trips to CVS have made me a walking pharmacy so if I can’t calm my nerves, I have a cocktail for that!
In all seriousness, I’m thrilled to share this experience with you and Miles. It’s been nearly 15 years since the last time I travelled internationally and I’m nervous for several reasons but I’m also incredibly excited and I’m hopeful that this trip opens your eyes to a whole new perception of the world. Your Dad thinks I’m joking when I say I’m looking at getting a shipping container for all the things I’m going to purchase while I’m over there. How else am I going to send home my giant tub of Nutella home?? These are serious things that need to be sorted out before we leave. It’s really the true source of my anxiety. So, the next time I write to you, you will be a seasoned global traveller. Olivia, the world traveller. It has a nice ring to it. Just don’t forget the little people who made it all possible when you’re a hot shot grownup, traveling all over the globe. Yea, that’s right–your amazing, wonderful parents.