Little Miss Sunshine
Belmont County, Ohio
This evening was one of those nights when I was dragging. My wagon was draggin’. I even said hello to my pillow for a few minutes. But, then I told myself, “Don’t think - just put on your shoes and go!” Since I was too tired to argue with myself, I went. Turned out, I ought to listen to myself more often!

I had walked 2-3 blocks when I heard my name. My little buddy, I’ll call her Sunshine (since she is a little ray of Sunshine), was yelling my name and waving. She signaled for me to come. I turned back and went down the road toward her house. The other neighbor laughed and asked if I was having trouble deciding which way to go. I replied, “I got caught!” They knew exactly what I meant. By the time I had walked down to Sunshine’s house, her mom was waving, and Sunshine had left her dune racer (one of those little automatic kid’s cars) and was half-way across the yard to me. I got the thumbs-up from her mom, so off we went.

My little buddy and me on another walk. Not too shabby for a 41 year old walking to be more fun than a dune racer to a five year old! I’ll take that any day, and I hope she still thinks I’m that cool in a few more years!

Little Miss Sunshine has been walking with me for two years. She can navigate around town. She knows all the dogs by name and many people. She has her own waist-pack for water bottles and band-aids. And the five year old has her own blinking lights to wear if we walk after dark. She’s a Walker.

As we walked tonight, we passed a playground. We had to stop. For her, of course! Let me just tell you in case you haven’t discovered it, the see-saw is an amazing workout! We must have had legs of steel as kids! Now, I can do “squats” and she can count my sets out loud. A leg workout and learning all in one! Voila!

Then we had to race to the monkey bars. I’ve been working on upper-body strength again. Guess what?! I made it across the monkey bars all by myself tonight! Yahoo! I promise, I did share. Miss Sunshine discovered how much fun they are, too. This is the first year she really enjoyed them.

I’m so excited! I must have been pretty smart to tell myself, “Don’t think – just put on your shoes and go!”

After a little bit more playing, off we went on more walking adventure. At one point she said, “Race you to that sign!” Of course, we raced. Then, she said, “Race you to that mail box!” I looked… and looked. I finally spotted it. It was the longest distance yet for any of our races. Off we went. We ran slowly. She informed me, “Run slow, like this. We don’t want to use all our energy by going too fast.” Alright, I have to admit: I was the Proud Walking Buddy at that moment. How cool is that? Miss Sunshine, at five years old, is telling me to pace myself!

Yep, I need to listen to myself more often. After that walk, my wagon isn’t draggin’!