Sunday, May 22, 2011
Wish We Could Stretch It
This weekend, we met my parents at a campground in Branson. One night all three of us stayed in their camper, and one night Erick and I stayed in the hotel on the property. It was camping. Only better. The campground had an indoor pool, WiFi and cable. Dad's camper has a bathroom and all the cooking apparatus one could hope for. For Sophia, this was camping. For me, this was a 5-star resort. My childhood camping experiences are fodder for a different post.
When we arrived Friday night, it was pouring rain. We were hopeful for a clear afternoon on Saturday but holding out little hope for a nice morning. Our expectations were exceeded the moment we woke up to an overcast but pleasant morning. Coffee in the campsite was quickly followed up with Silver Dollar City.
There is no describing what Silver Dollar City meant to me as a child. Rides, shows, wandering aimlessly in my newly ironed-on Branson t-shirt - it was as much as my heart could hold. I have never really hoped that Sophia would feel the same...until yesterday.
Sophia's normal anxiety and hesitation gave way over and over again throughout the day. The first big hurdle came in the kiddie rides. Now, some kids love a thrill. There were plenty of two- and three-year-olds who were enjoying the rides, but Sophia has never been one of them. She'll usually oblige us by riding once, but then insists that the thrill has been lost after that. This time, however, we each got our turn to ride the frogs with Sophia.
And she even rode the frog by herself! That is a huge milestone for her, so we were pretty thrilled for her. And us...
The next stretch came in the form of a new ride - the River Blast. This is a boat ride, with water guns on the boat and on the shore facing the boats. We knew Sophia would like the idea of shooting others with water, but we were unsure of how she'd feel about getting shot, particularly in the face.
Our fears were misplaced... She and Erick could have stayed there all day waging war on the masses.
The rest of the day was a blast. Stopped for a show, played in the kid areas and ate lots of food. It was exactly as I never dared to hope. Sophia loved Silver Dollar City as much as I ever did. Fantastic.
Back at the campground, we cooled off in the pool. Again, she surprised us with her bravery and desire to try things she'd never tried before. She normally only swims with her floating dolphin ring, "Whaley." However, we had been in the 3-foot end about 20 minutes when Sophia set her aside and decided to go it alone. She inevitably went under a few times but popped back up with an "I did it!" instead of the freakout we expected. Now she can't wait to get back into a pool, so it's a promising summer!
It was the kind of weekend that feels like the beginning of vacation. Unfortunately, it wasn't the beginning of vacation. Sophia's last two days of school are on Monday and Wednesday. Then the summer stretches out in front of us. I'm pretty excited about our summer together. For tonight, though, we'll just recover from a weekend full of fun!