Ella, my older daughter, is a climber. It's in her very nature; she's been climbing since she knew she had legs. When she was 2 1/2, I came home from an evening out to discover that B had taught Ella how to shinny up the door frames. I'm the only one I know who footprints on the ceilings.
Our neighbor is a rock climber, and when Ella and his son were almost four, he got a child-sized harness and took them out to Reimers Ranch, a local climbing mecca, to see what they did. Ella went up 20 feet in a flash. I think she was too little to know to be scared, but the rock climber in her was born.
Ella's favorite retreat is the magnolia tree in our front yard. The tree is not healthy and really needs to come down in favor of something more suited to this climate. But Ella would be devastated if "her" tree were to disappear, so there it stays, dropping leaves year round and refusing to bloom.
Last summer, in an effort to get her climbing in a safe, constructive environment, I signed Ella up for camp at Austin Rock Gym. She loved every minute of her week there. I'd arrive at the end of each morning's session and have to pull Ella off the walls to get her into the car. During the fall she did a few sessions of Saturday classes for kids, but the gym had a hard time filling the sessions, so they tapered off. All spring Ella has asked me how long until rock climbing camp starts.
Today she started the second of her three sessions of camp, and she was so thrilled to be there that I thought her head was going to explode. Ella is even more excited that she will be old enough in the fall to join the gym's junior rock climbing team. It'll mean a huge commitment for me - the gym that the team meets at is way down south - but it will be worth it for Ella to do what she loves so much.