Since my foot injury and amputation, I have developed a small ladder fear. I have refused to go higher than the third rung for fear of falling. I'm not afraid of going up, but coming down scares me to death. I don't fully trust that my prosthetic is on the rung. With my natural grace and poise, I think that my fear is justified!
I have been successful avoiding most ladder activities for the past eight years. I even opted to balance precariously on top of our piano when repairing our leaky plumbing instead of pulling out our ladder. I couldn't envision anything that would motivate me to climb a ladder.
Of course, this was before Mr. Bill started construction on Robby's dream tree house. Scott, Mr. Bill and Robby have been busy building the little house for the past two days. Wanting to contribute more than stimulating commentary and cold drinks, I naively offered to help. I was promptly handed a drill, a fistful of nails and instructions to work on the platform.
I didn't have a problem climbing the ladder, nor did I encounter any difficulties with my designated construction jobs. The issue arose when it was time to take a break, and I realized that I couldn't get down. Not knowing whether to cry or scream in fear, I simply froze.
We spent the next 15 minutes talking through my various exit options. I was beginning to resign myself to a life in a tree house. Perhaps worse than not knowing how to get down safely was the realization that I was so frightened in front of my neighbor and my little boy. I hate feeling--and looking--vulnerable!
Scott ended up climbing the ladder to escort me down. When I finally had my foot on the ground, I felt a sense of relief rush over me. I was greeted with a high five and a round of applause from my little cheerleader. Hearing "I'm proud of you, best buddy Momom" made all of the shame I was feeling evaporate.
I have been in the tree house several times since the first ladder incident. While I don't particularly relish climbing down, I have learned a technique that (knock on wood) has not resulted in my falling and allows me to feel in control.
After witnessing the ladder incident, Mr. Bill has decided to incorporate a slide to the design. Like Robby, I'm thrilled with the addition of the yellow slide. Despite the strides that I have made conquering dismounting the ladder, I can say with some certainty that I will exiting the tree house via slide. That is, until the zip line is installed...