Anyone who has read Dia Calhoun’s FIREGOLD knows a thing or two about rites of passages. Harrowing rites. In the real world, there are the bar mitvahs and bat mitvahs. Quinceneras. And I suppose, Sweet Sixteens. But…what about a rite of passage that’s uniquely American to celebrate the crossing from tweendom to teendom?

So as my son’s 13th birthday approached, I’d been brainstorming about creating our own rite of passage to demarcate the end of his official childhood and the beginning of his manhood. As the Big Day neared, I had a few other personal things I needed to attend to and I was coming up empty on ideas. My friend, Lorie Ann, however, gave me a serious tushy kicking about my son’s rite of passage. I’m so glad she did!

So…I challenged my guy to face his fear of heights and booked us for a lesson at our local climbing gym, Vertical World (which is where I researched part of Nothing but the Truth and a few white lies). There, he mustered his courage and scaled FIVE walls (count ’em, FIVE) as if he had been born in the Himalayas! Bhutan Boy, that’s my little man!


Which, of course, inspired me to get in my harness. As it did my daughter. But what got me to the tippy top of the most challenging wall of the night? My kids down below who promised, “Mom, we’ll do the laundry next week if you reach the top!”


Heh heh. Now, that’s what I call inspiration. Fear conquered! The laundry fairies are visiting Chez Headley this week. Woo hoo!

Today, I give thanks to my kids–my young man and little girl–who think I’m weird but are up for my ideas anyway.

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