three feet

My daughter has recently risen to new jumping heights: three feet. The first time she did it, she called home all breathless. “It was so awesome!” she gushed. So of course I had to go see for myself. Last week I observed a lesson, and then I went again this week when my parents and grandparents came to watch.
 

A typical jumping lesson starts with warm-ups before moving to walk-over jumps (or whatever they’re called) where the horse walks over a series of tubes. They proceed to bounce strides, several low jumps in quick succession: over, down, over, down, over. These, my daughter says, might be her favorite because she goes up and down so quickly and seamlessly. And then they start on the higher jumps: two feet, then two feet six inches, then two feet nine inches, and so on, all the way up to three feet.

At one point when my daughter was gearing up for the big jumps, the instructor asked me if I was nervous. “Oh no,” I said, slightly surprised. “This is fun.” And then I started wondering if I should be nervous, and if I wasn’t—which I wasn’t—did that mean something was wrong with me? What did it say about me that I find the whole thing extremely entertaining and beautiful? Am I missing some all-important Anxious Mother Gene?

Oh well. I’d much rather focus my energy, not on the what-ifs, but on encouraging my children to deal smartly with the element of risk that goes hand in hand with vibrant living. There’s not much exuberance to be experienced cowering off in a corner somewhere, you know.

Fly high, my girl. And hold on tight.

This same time, years previous: field work, the reading week, a pie party, classic cheesecake, and love, the tooth fairy.

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