Don’t Let Fear of Looking Foolish Stop You

 Glassy highrise buildings slipped past, mirroring the sky. Parallel-parking beside joggers and bicyclists at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, we piled out of the car, carrying roller blades, a folded stroller, and a brown paper bag of hot bagels.

 On our last days of vacation– this segment of the “stay-cation”–we were all intentionally making family memories and savoring these last few days of normal. The last few weeks of having John here with us before he moved to college. The last few weeks of summer, and the last few days of relaxed family time. Strolling past the rose gardens, we joked and sniffed occasional buds, noticing how fast the weeds grew here too. Groundskeepers in tan shirts gouged out fast-growing weeds and scrambled to keep up with passing time.

 After the cherubim fountain and the spitting turtle fountain, my broad-shouldered college-bound John raced across the grass to climb a tree, charmed by its low-hanging branch. Mark handed five-year old Daniel up, entrusting him to John, and swung up after them.

“Wow, Dad! I didn’t know you could climb trees!” my daughter cried.

“What? I’m not that old. I can climb trees,” Mark asserted (several times that day).

 My daughter joined him, swinging up with a bit of help, and perching beside them.

“C’mon, Mom, let’s all go up!”

 For all my talk of loving to climb trees, it had still been a long time since I had swung up into one this size. Jumping up, my hands only slipped off the smooth bark again.

“I’m too short. My hands can’t get a grip.” I laughed and complained. They urged me, good-naturedly teasing me and trying to spite me into success. Laughing, jumping, and falling, I stood barefoot in the grass looking up at them.

“My shirt will gap open! Sorry, it’s not a good tree-climbing shirt.” I worried.

“John, don’t look for a sec,” Mark advised. Handing Daniel to the kids, he jumped down, and hoisted me up. I scrambled ungracefully to his shoulders, scooted up from there, and grabbed on to the branch, shrieking and giggling. My oldest nearly fell off the tree in silent laughter.

Finally, we were all there, six feet off the ground, grabbing onto the weathered bark of the branch. Wrapping ankles together for balance, I reassured Daniel that we were fine, and Mark set up the camera for our family photo.

Happy August 12th to you, friend! Kids around the nation start school this week, others start in a few weeks, and my son moves onto his college campus soon.

Savor today. Savor your family and friends. Climb trees, look silly, laugh hard, and build family memories. What crazy or fun thing have you done this week? I love hearing from you.

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose. 

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  1. Brian Miller on August 13, 2013 at 4:03 am

    smiles…fun climbing trees…teased you into success….ha…i like….been back at school since last monday…kids finally show up again on thursday…had open house today…and i am wore slap out…ha…i look forward to the kids being there…they energize me…

  2. LOLITA on August 13, 2013 at 8:28 am

    In my email, I got so intrigued by the title because I thought, "huh, this is certainly me!" But I found a delightful fun-time-in vacation with the whole household.

    Suc a lovely site, such wonderful moments together, no amount of treasure could replace that.

    The site on the tree is just worth the post and the journaling. Something to look back to in time and something great for the record.

    This is so fine, Jen. Thanks.

  3. Misty on August 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Just stumbled across your blog! It looks like a lot of fun. I haven't been to your city in many years. My poor youngest has never been there and she's fourteen. 🙁

    It looks like you guys had a GREAT time!

  4. Alecia Simersky on August 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    We have a couple of weeks left and I'm cherishing each day, (even though I am ready for school to start 😉 )
    We've had a good summer, but I need routine back.
    Yay,for you getting up in that tree! What fun family memories made that day. I used to be an expert tree climber, but not so much anymore :)Age does that to you I guess. Enjoy the rest of your summer, friend!

  5. Floyd on August 13, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Good for you. Your family will never forget the summer you climbed a tree with them… and the days will grow short again… and soon the little one will be headed of to college… savor indeed. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy the moment and savor them for the gifts from our Father that they are…

  6. Jennifer Dougan on August 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm


    Are you a teacher? Fun. 🙂 What subjects and ages do you teach? Happy day before school today, then! May this new year go wonderfully.


  7. Jennifer Dougan on August 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm


    I'm so sorry that perhaps I left you hanging then without a delivered answer to not letting fear stop you. For me, not letting fear of looking foolish stop me means that I take a breath, and simply dive in, (or climb up!)realizing that foolishness doesn't matter in the long run.

    Most people you see when feeling foolish won't know you, or remember, or even think badly of you. Often it's just ourselves who are self-aware and nervous. Be bold! Jump. You can do it, Lolita!


  8. Jennifer Dougan on August 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Misty, welcome! I'm so glad you stopped in. Do you live nearby?

    I enjoyed looking through your site too. Nice to meet you.

    Jennifer Dougan

  9. Jennifer Dougan on August 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm


    Yes, cherishing every day. Me too. It's going so fast, isn't it?

    Looking for easier trees, 😉

  10. Jennifer Dougan on August 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm


    Thanks for stopping in.


  11. Unknown on August 14, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    beautiful!! I love this. Makes me grin.

  12. Brian Miller on August 15, 2013 at 12:51 am

    i am a teacher…kids are back tomorrow…i cant wait…it have had enough meetings the last 9 days to keep me set for a year…ha.

  13. Karmen M. on August 15, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Such a fun family memory. I am glad that you didn't let the worry of foolishness stop you from getting up there.

  14. Jennifer Dougan on August 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Hi Karmen, It was less about the fear of looking foolish, and more about weak hands slipping off the smooth bark that day. We laughed a lot though at my silly-looking attempts.

    Thanks for grinning with me.

    Jennifer Dougan

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