We decided that we would walk fast in the shade and run when we hit patches where it was sunny as to avoid getting burnt. It'll be like intervals...but more fun since it's mostly shade. (This was my thought as I was still trying to convince myself that it was a good idea.) Savanna agreed. And she is not known for being naturally agreeable so I was shocked. This child has not EVER run with me at the park since she was a toddler and did so as a passenger in the stroller I was pushing! I was going to take every advantage of this opportunity to try and spend some "quality time" talking with her and also try and show her that working out can be fun. Okay, so maybe choosing to do so in 100 degree weather isn't the smartest but I was going to work with what I had!
There is a big hill right in the center of this trail. I hate/dread it EVERY SINGLE TIME I run. It seems to go on forever! I assured Savanna that we would only run on the parts of the hill that were sunny and we could walk in the shady parts. She was doubtful in her abilities, but she did it. We turned around at the ending point and started back. I cheerfully told her that THIS time the hill would be easier because most of the sunny parts would be downhill going this direction. I then cautioned her to pay attention because it might be easier to trip running downhill. I said this because Savanna can be a little clumsy at times. Actually, she has been know to randomly trip and fall many times throughout her life. Luckily, we all laugh about it and so she smiled but then I saw some fear start to arise. She got a crinkle between her eyebrows as she said, "Mom, I don't want to run downhill! What if I fall? You KNOW how much of a klutz I am!" I reassured her and said, "Oh Savy, you'll be fine!!! I didn't tell you that to scare you. I told you so you would pay attention." The look of total disbelief was all over her face when she made the next comment...a comment that both surprised and saddened me a bit. "What if I fall and scrape up my face? I NEEED my looks Mom!"
I laughed. "Oh Savanna! Quit being crazy! You're not going to fall and what do you mean you need your looks?" There was a part of me that thought she MUST be joking, but she was very serious. "Mom. (motioning to her face as we ran...downhill...without falling) My looks DO make a difference. Without my pretty face, things would be a lot harder. When I was at camp a couple of weeks ago, I didn't ever have to clear my tray in the cafeteria once that week. There were always boys offering to throw my stuff away and I never had to carry my suitcase up or down the stairs. I'm going to NEED my looks to get by in life."
"Savanna. You are beautiful. I remember when you were a baby. I would just look at you, even when you were asleep and marvel at what a beautiful child you are. Now is no different. Your beauty is striking, and being beautiful has its perks. People may be nicer to you, boys may give you attention, and opportunities may come your way because of the way you look, but you cannot spend your life relying on your looks. Solely relying on your looks means giving up the power to be happy...all the time...no matter what. It may mean that you are only happy when you are getting attention and miserable when you are not. Relying on your looks means that the opinion of others counts more than YOUR opinion of yourself. Looks fade and we get older. One day you will not look like you do now and if your entire identity is wrapped up in your appearance, you will feel lost and always be looking back. You are so smart. I can't imagine having your intelligence, and I know you can do great things. But more importantly, you are strong. If something were to ever happen to your looks...it would be sad but it shouldn't be the end. You need to be strong enough to have more substance that you can fall back on. Looks are nice, but they should be like the icing on the cake...a bonus. You have stayed with me in this heat and never complained until now. You have kept going when I KNOW you wanted to stop. I don't ever want you to forget this. You are more than what you look like."