On Day two we went to bed happy. Christopher and I congratulated ourselves on planning an amazing vacation for our family. We recapped our first two days, big smiles on our faces as we lay in our big comfy bed. Christopher was excited for the next morning. When they woke up, he and Gracie were going Treetop Trekking.
Christopher has been talking about wanting to try Treetop Trekking for a while now. I personally am not really a big fan of heights. I get on the second rung of a ladder and the world looses focus, and my breathing becomes rapid, oh I do not like heights. Christopher on the other hand does not seem to mind heights (perhaps he used to them being that he's 6'4). When we were looking at the list of activities that were available to us at Deerhurst, Christopher did not hesitate for a second "I want Treetop Trekking".
He had planned to go alone, worried that if one of the kids came they would chicken out at the top. Gracie had expressed interest in going with him. Christopher was hesitant. This was something that he had really been looking forward to. Yes, it would be nice to have the company, but what if Grace got up there and panicked? In the end it was the promise of spending bonding time with his little girl that made Christopher change his mind.
Gracie did something that scared her. She did it knowing that it scared her, but her desire was stronger than her fear, and I was so proud of her. The two adventurers set off on their tree top trek first thing in the morning. Gracie looked scared, but determined. I said a little prayer for her. I did not pray for her safety, I knew they would be safe. I worried that this was too much. I wanted her to succeed.
Our Gracie is honestly a wonder. It is sometimes difficult to believe that this is my same little girl. When she was three and we had our life changing / destroying car accident I thought that she was scarred for life. Before the accident she was this shy little three year old, not just shy, painfully shy. Our world imploded. Our accident happened on December 21, 2004. The ambulance got lost. Gracie was pinned in the back seat for hours in the freezing darkness, a Rowan's car seat painfully wedged into her leg. She was terrified, and in pain, but there was nothing that I could do to comfort her, other than to sing lullabies and try to comfort her with my voice. In the seat in front of her, Gabe lay unconscious, bleeding to death internally while I stood at the side of the road and watched, helpless and terrified. It was hours before the firefighters were able to get to her. They had to work on Gabe first. In the end they had to cut her out. She was surrounded by strangers. In that moment the world told her that all of her little fears were true, the world was a very scary place and she had been right to be afraid. I was in hospital for a week with my own injuries, and Gabe never woke up, never came home. Family members came to the house to care for her and her infant brother and sister, but for a week when she needed us the very most, Christopher and I could not be with her. After the accident she suffered from night terrors. She was terrified of police officers, police cars, and fire trucks, and any kind of siren. She would / could not talk to anyone other than her immediate family, she could not make herself. She was so damaged from that accident. The leg we had thanked God was "only broken" turned into a nightmare. She had cracked the growth plate, something I had previously never even known to exist. The cracked growth plate caused that part of her leg to begin to deform. She required 6 surgeries to straighten the leg. I would just look at that beautiful little blonde and wonder why her, why did she have to endure this? Then I would realize how blessed I was that she was even alive. We began to call her "Our Sweet Amazing Grace". Over the years, that terrified little angel has never ceased to amaze me with her courage. Yes, I would have to encourage her to take baby steps toward the things that scared her, but she always did it. The little girl who was terrified of the world has gone on to do plays, sing solo in front of huge crowds, beat her fears to do what she wants to do. She is still this shy girl, but she is amazing, still our Amazing Grace.
That afternoon Christopher and Grace crashed through the condo doors, alive with adrenaline. The two of them with huge grins on their faces. "IT WAS AWESOME" Grace spit out with the biggest ear to ear grin I had ever seen. "It was beautiful, I'm so glad we did this together", Christopher excitedly shouted out, with a grin that matched his daughter's. "I was so scared, but I did it." "I was so proud of her!" The two of them rushed out their story, finishing each other's sentences and interrupting each other to tell something that was really amazing that the other had forgotten to include.
"Phil was so great!" Grace and Christopher both said almost at the same time. On the first few courses Gracie had been paralyzed with fear. She wanted to do the course, but could not stop the fear from overwhelming her. Eventually between Christopher and Phil (their leader/ guide) they were able to help Gracie over her fear. Christopher would encourage Grace to go and from the other end, Phil would encourage her to come to him, often catching her. "Oh Phil was so amazing with her" Christopher had said many times. Because of that amazing man (who should get a raise by the way) my little girl did something that frightened her, but that she so wanted to do. Now she knows that she can do more things that frighten her, she can do anything!
Again and again Christopher spoke of the amazing beauty. It was the perfect time to go. The weather was unseasonably warm, and beautiful. The colours were like a tapestry of oranges, browns and reds. There were no bugs. It was all just amazing. He so regretted not having a camera (he was afraid to take my camera for fear of dropping it, and then being killed by me). Both Christopher and Grace agree that they desperately want to go back and do it again. For the first week after we got back home and life was back to, well life, Grace would out of the blue get this wistful look on her face and say "I sure wish I was going Tree Top Trekking today."
Thank you Phil for making this such a wonderful memory for my little girl and her Daddy.