Brave chickens

My girls — No longer this crazy but now twice as brave.

The spookiness of the season seems to be taking its toll on my grandsons.

Mac, who's 16 months old and has been sleeping through the night for quite some time, has awakened screaming in the middle of the night for more than a week now. After ruling out illness, teething, earaches and pains, the only logical reason may be nightmares attributed to spider and ghost decor, plus viewings of Mickey's House of Villains at Bubby's side.

And Bubby, who loves those cartoons of Donald and Mickey braving scary places and villains in his current favorite DVD, doesn't fare as well with his own made-up tales. Megan said Bubby asked for a flashlight a few evenings ago and for Megan to join him in a spooky storytelling session. Only, once Bubby started telling the spooky made-up tale he hoped to share, he declared, "No, I gotta stop! It's too scary!" Megan tried to convince him that as he was the storyteller, the degree of spookiness was completely up to him, yet Bubby refused to go on.

Megan's concerned a bit by Mac's fears, chuckles a bit at Bubby's. I told her to consider what a chicken she was as a child. This is the daughter who, all the way up until leaving for college, would literally run to and from the bathroom if she had to pee in the middle of the night and who used a night light up until she got married. Heck, I'm pretty sure she still uses a night light—disguised as two baby monitors she swears she can't yet give up, for the boys' sake, of course.

Megan is a chicken. Her boys clearly take after her.

In so many other ways, though, Megan is far from a chicken, and brave far beyond what I ever expected of my chicken little girl. She was the first daughter to go far away to a college where she knew no one, a place seven hours from home. She also was the first to move far away from the family home after college to make her own home with her husband. And she was the first to bravely run an official half marathon race—a challenge she asked her sisters to do along with her, for their first times, in just a few weeks.

Her sisters accepted the invitation and will fly to the desert the first weekend of November to run 13.1 miles with Megan. Which shouldn't surprise me as my girls—typically so very different in so very many ways—are very much the same when it comes to bravery in the face of challenge and opportunity.

My youngest, Andrea, has from day one done crazy, daring acts that forever live in family lore. Things like the time she unexpectedly jumped from our boat while no one was looking, right into the cold waters of a mountain lake where we vacationed, just to shock us all. Or touched her tongue to the frozen wrought iron stair railing to see if it really would stay stuck to it (it did). And like yesterday, when she flew off—alone—on yet another solo vacation to parts of the country she's not yet seen.

My oldest, Brianna, may not (yet) take vacations on her own, but she regularly stares down fear and faces challenges of other sorts. One example: This weekend she is riding a bike down Pikes Peak. Yes, you read that right. Early tomorrow morning, Brianna and a friend will, starting at the summit, hop on bicycles—not motorcycles—and pedal down the 14,000-foot-plus mountain. For fun. Crazy, crazy, crazy. And brave, I must admit.

How that happened—how my daughters ended up brave in so many ways—I have no clue. They definitely didn't get it from me. They didn't get it from Jim, either, to be sure, as we're both rather chicken-like in myriad ways of our own.

So when it comes to Bubby and Mac being scared—whether at Halloween or of harrowing acts in the future—I'll continually advise them to look to their mommy and aunts as role models on how to be brave, how to feel most any fear yet do most anything anyway.

For models of bravery are what my daughters have been to me, and what they will always be.

Regardless of how long they use a nightlight.

Today's question:

What about Halloween used to (or still does) make a chicken of you?