Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chase the Wind and Touch the Sky

Mondays and Fridays (the two full days each week that Hallie and I spend together) occasionally mirror what I once envisioned parenting a daughter would look like. I help Hallie pick out a pretty dress to wear, braid her blond curls, and tickle her little chin as I buckle her into her carseat. I drop my cheerful girl off at the gym childcare center, and after a quick cardio or strength workout to clear my head, she and I head off to run errands. We put gas in the car, stock up on home goods at Target, and buy groceries, all the while singing songs and talking about what she's learning in preschool, her friends, and how much she loves to dance. At home we read stories, color pictures, and bake cookies until time to walk leisurely, hand in hand, through the neighborhood to pick up her older brother from school.

It's a pretty picture, isn't it?

Approximately one in every 12 days spent with Hallie plays out as I've described above. The rest are slightly less idyllic.

Hallie melts down for the first time when I won't let her wear her swimsuit to the gym. It's 44 degrees outside, and while I've been known to wear my swimsuit in even less swimwear-friendly weather, Hallie doesn't know that and is, to put it mildly, a winter weather wimp. Once wrestled into an appropriate outfit, Hallie refuses to brush her teeth, refuses to brush her hair, and refuses to hug her daddy goodbye as he heads out the door to work. She kicks me in the ribs as I buckle her into her carseat, and as we enter the gym, my temperamental gal literally growls at the lovely young woman working at the front desk. I enjoy my workouts more than usual on days like these.

Of course Hallie doesn't want to run errands, so she cries at the gas station, knocks over a display of Easter pencils at Target, and rips up my list at the grocery store. She'll only sing "Last Friday Night" by Katy Perry, which she heard once on the radio before I realized the lyrics were inappropriate for preschoolers, and she'll only discuss how she'd rather be watching cartoons. The grocery store staff members hear us coming and pray we don't chose their check-out lane.

Upon arriving home and being released from her carseat, Hallie buckles herself into Will's carseat and sits in the car, pouting, for 20 minutes. She finally comes inside when I mention baking, but then melts down again because - I kid you not - the recipe doesn't include enough ingredients and therefore doesn't take long enough to make. When it's time to pick up her brother I very nearly drag her to school, and once there, she hides behind the bushes and refuses to come out when it's time to walk home.

A "typical" day with Hallie is mentally and emotionally exhausting. She hurts my feelings, drives me up the wall, and on particularly rough days, has me convinced that I'm losing my mind.


Hallie is so much more than all that. She is fierce and passionate. She is proud, confident, and independent. She knows who she is and where she's going, and she's sure as hell not going to let me - or anyone else, for that matter - get in the way of either. She is teaching me to be a more creative, more patient, and more compassionate mother, and at night, once she has come out of her room for the last (17th) time and has finally fallen asleep, I am able to recognize and acknowledge that she is teaching me to be a better person.

Last year I began the tradition of sharing a song - one that reminded me of her and what I hope for her as she grows older - with Hallie on her birthday. Below is the song I chose for Hallie this year, the year she turned four.

The song is performed wonderfully in the first video, but if you want to see and hear what I consider to be an even more powerful performance, watch the second video.

When cold winds are calling,
And the sky is clear and bright,
Misty mountains sing and beckon,
Lead me out into the light.

I will ride, I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky,
I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky.

Where dark woods hide secrets,
And mountains are fierce and bold,
Deep waters hold reflections,
Of times lost long ago.

I will hear their every story,
Take hold of my own dream,
Be as strong as the seas are stormy,
And proud as an eagle's scream.

I will ride, I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky,
I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky.

My dearest girl, this song could have been written about you, and for the rest of my days it will remind me of you and bring happy tears to my eyes.  I wish you always to be as strong and as proud as you are today, and that you would always follow your dreams toward the sky.  Happy 4th birthday, Hallie Claire.


  1. Erin,

    This one brought tears to my eyes, because as I read your adventures with Hallie, I am reflecting my own adventures with Paula. They are so much alike and it comforts me to know I'm not the only one feeling like I am loosing my mind!! But as you mentioned, I am not the least worried about Paula, because no one is going to mess with her! :)

    And don't even get me started with Luisa... ;)

  2. Thank you sooo much for posting this Erin. Kendra and I have a simular relationship. However, Im more of the firey red head that leaves caution to the wind, will take the bull by the horns and look danger in the eye and charge full speed ahead.

    I knew God gave me a loud voice and strength for a reason. My precious daughter on the outside is a strong, smart, loving little girl but on the inside is a terrifed and fragile
    little lamb. On our Mother/Daughter journey called Life, I have needed to use my voice, strength and endurance to fiercly protect her.

    All in all, Kendra is what keeps me rooted. She is my reason for staying planted and thinking twice about chasing wild hairs now in my "Old Age" (cause you know, 30 is so old). Kendra has taught me patience; as high of a level of patience as I am capable of having. I still find myself searching for that next adventure. And while it may not have the same outward appearance it use to, every day with my Kendra is a new adventure. With no regrets. Just love, understanding, forgiveness and patience.

    I have to remember, although we as parents are teaching and preparing our children to become adults and some day parents, they are really teaching us. Teaching us to be better adults and parents. And only by grace are we given the chance to wake up anew every morning and do it all over again.

    Im beyond blessed that God choose to give me a child like Kendra. Thank you. Thank you for posting this. I needed those words this morning.