March 29, 2010

A is for Adventure

As Alex and I prepared to go the Winter Games, I have remembered one of many nicknames for Alex; adventure girl. In this journal, I have written entries about Alex the actress, and Alex the artist. One of the monikers I have not shared yet is Alex the adventure girl.

Alex loves going on trips and vacations more than anyone I know (except for me). Whenever we have a trip planned, or even a special outing, Alex plans for days in advance. Her excitement builds as each day passes, and when it is finally time to leave she becomes a bubble of enthusiastic energy.

I was recently reminded of this as we prepared to go to Copper Mountain for the Winter Games. Our past week with Alex went something like this (related in what I think was Alex’s thought process):

Monday - make the list of items needed for the trip and gain Mom’s approval

Tuesday - remind everyone in the family that Mom and Alex and I are leaving in five days, go over the list again, and ask Tom to wax my skis

Wednesday - do laundry and talk to Mom again about items needed to be packed

Thursday – begin to pack for the trip, using three types of luggage; clothing bag (including toiletries), game bag (Nintendo, I-pod and books), and stuffed animal bag

Friday – move the packed bags and newly waxed skis into the car

Saturday – take a shower and go to bed early (so as not to be tired for the trip)

Sunday – set my alarm, get up with the biggest smile I have, and go!

I am not sure why Alex likes going on trips so to much. It certainly is contrary to some of her transition adverse character traits. Alex does not like changes in her routine and is often noncompliant when we introduce new things into her schedule. We have learned to give Alex lots of warning and use visual aids (calendars etc...) when we anticipate a change in her schedule.

Additionally, Alex hates to do her laundry. Alex prefers to wear dirty, ratty clothes than even thinking about doing her laundry. The idea that Alex can and will do her laundry before a trip floors me. But she does, and will be one of the few people in my family who takes clean clothes on vacation!

Alex has unbelievable planning skills. Her understanding of the calendar and months/weeks/times rivals anyones. I might even boast Alex is more prepared than her siblings (or parents) when it is time for a vacation. She is always the first to be organized when we go on a trip.

But Alex’s preparation skills are minor comparesd to her excitement skills. Once we are on the road Alex’s observation skills become superhuman. She will notice the funny rock, or the strange animals, she will note the weather, topography and general environment. She will scream with glee at almost everything and in particular she will notice every restaurant, drive through and bakery on our travels.

The smile on Alex’s face will last for the entire vacation. She will get up early as needed, dress up as requested, and even go for hikes. Alex’s ability to appreciate a world different than her every day world is a joy to me. It is one of Alex’s qualities that I love and envy.

Alex appreciates each and every adventure, learns from the experience and creates a memory that lasts a lifetime for all of us. The smiling and expression of love and gratitude on Alex’s face melt my heart. Alex makes magic out of the mundane, and infuses joy in our experience in every way.

Everyone should take Alex, the adventure girl, on their next vacation, and experience this pure joy at least once. I anxiously await each time I share an adventure with Alex. It makes my job as the parent of this exceptional girl so rewarding.

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