This past winter I booked a series of five one-hour horseback riding lessons for Sydney to prepare her for our planned Zephyr Adventures family vacation in Montana, which would include riding. The lessons were delayed and the vacation scrapped due to the pandemic.
We started the lessons in June and Sydney did her fifth and final one on Friday last week.
Interestingly, Sydney had initially liked the lessons but then complained they were boring, which is true considering the lessons all take place in a corral as compared to the trail rides we did this summer at 1000 Acres Ranch. I tried to explain to Sydney the lessons were attempting to teach her to actually ride a horse on her own, as compared to following another horse, and she needed to apply herself so she could do more than just be led around the corral.
On her fifth and final lesson the instructor finally asked Sydney to walk the horse on her own without being led. I was excited to see the progress! Unfortunately, Sydney was scared to do so and was limited to a few steps on her own before the lesson ended. She says she has no interest continuing.
Sydney has now been on a horse 11 times this summer and this, her final time, was the first time she was scared. I must admit I was a bit frustrated. It is one of those situations when you want to tell a child “Listen to me. All you need to do is X and you will really love it.” But if a kid isn’t ready to do something, there is not much you can do to force it. So we’ll move on to the next thing!
Last year Sydney and I participated in the annual Sea Cliff Camping Trip at Hither Hills State Park at the end of Long Island. This year the official activities were canceled but many families still attended.
I helped organize four families to hang out together at the campground in two separate sites. This included Sydney’s friend Kayla and her mom Dawn; our friends from Germany and Spain, Jordi, Katharina, Oriol, and Oviti; and new friends Tantip (from Thailand) and her daughter Faye.
Faye, Oriol, Kayla, and Sydney
Having four families camping together was fantastic. While it is pushing the edge a little bit in terms of pandemic safety, we were outdoors the entire time, careful not to share food or utensils, wore masks when needed, and already were in each other’s “bubble”. Plus, at this point Sea Cliff hasn’t seen a COVID-19 case in weeks so it is unlikely any of our immediate friends has it.
Dawn, Allan, and Tantip
Everyone had a great time. We played in the ocean (but could not swim because of a strong riptide), went for a drive to see the area sites, played in several playgrounds, and ate meals together.
Sydney has loved singing and performing plays since she was very young. On August 30, she participated in her first real production – playing both the water and fire spirits in Frozen 2.
One benefit of living on Long Island is that there is a massive amount of local theatrical talent. We have seen many quite good productions with kids that were excellent. This was not really one of them. Not only was the production delayed three months and moved outdoors because of the coronavirus but there was just very little production about this. Instead, the kids sort of just stood on the grass in a local park and came up to the microphone when it was their turn to talk or sing.
That didn’t matter to Sydney at all. She loved being part of the group and loved performing in the show. It was actually fortuitous that the new date didn’t work for lots of families, as Sydney was able to pick up a second part from another girl and play two of the “spirits” in the movie. Otherwise, she would have had few lines.
I can honestly say Sydney did extremely well, primarily because she was loud and clear in her speaking. Her singing is getting better too. When I asked her if she was nervous, she said no. We’ll try to do this again.