When we arrived at Stanley Park, it seemed that everyone else in Vancouver had the same rainy day activity planned on this first day of the Victoria Day long weekend. The closest parking spot was about a 10-minute uphill walk from the entrance; the ticket queue proved to be a half hour wait. Still, the grandkids were troopers, passing the time with greater patience and poise than many of the adults and other kids in the line-up.
Once in the aquarium, we all had a fun time. Riker squealed with delight upon his first close encounter with a tankful of “Nemos.” Both reveled and romped in the children’s special activity room.
Several hours later we were ready to leave with two happy and exhausted kids. By now, Vancouver’s liquid sunshine was a more persistent drizzle, so we discussed waiting by the front door while grandpa retrieved the car. When we emerged from the exit, we discovered that 1) there were no undercover waiting areas outside; 2) there were no loading zones (& no double parking) in front of the building; and 3) we were parked at the other end of a long, one-way loop.
So, we began the long journey back to the car. Now, Riker was in his stroller, being pushed by grandpa. I had Kennedy in hand, jumping over puddles. It soon became obvious that Kennedy’s petite gait was no match for grandpa’s legs and Riker’s wheels. So, I suggested that they go ahead to the car and get settled in.
Meanwhile, it was obvious that Kennedy’s shoe selection wasn’t optimum for this wet walk, as her slip-ons kept slipping off. With every third or fourth step, she asked, “When are we going to get there.” She was tired and getting cold. She looked up at me with eyes that said, “carry me” yet she didn’t ask, as she knew I was physically challenged to do so.
OK, so what do I do? Here Kennedy was, in a state that was not resourceful for getting back to the car. How could I put her in touch with that part of her that could make the walk to the car with ease?
Imaging that energy is radiating from the top of the head is a simple performance enhancing technique for athletes, especially runners and jumpers. If an athlete imagines that energy is pulling them up from their crown, then they have more buoyancy and “lift.” The inverse energy flow emanating from the feet works for athletes such as wrestlers who need to become attached to the ground in order to maintain their footing. Since I wanted to give Kennedy a physical “lift”, I decided to play a game.
After stopping to adjust her shoe once again, I asked,” Have you every seen the Pixar movie ‘UP’?” She nodded that she had. “Now,” I said, “close your eyes and pretend that there are hundreds of balloons attached to your head – just like the house in ‘UP’ – and you are floating up, up, floating above the ground. Good - that’s right – now, let’s float!”
I started singing a little tune – “Up in a balloon, up in a balloon – we are floating right along – Up in our balloon.” We “floated” at her pace; each time she asked when we would arrive at the car, I suggested that she imagine more balloons attached to her head and pretend that she needed to float higher in order to see the car. All the while, I interjected my little song (with smiles from longer legged passer-bys!)
Finally, I spied the car. To make the game complete, I exclaimed, “I see the car – let’s float in for a landing! Start releasing the balloons! There’s grandpa, there’s Riker – let’s float in for a landing!”
Yes, we both floated in for a smooth landing, unscathed. The journey was a pleasant one.