Ordinary Life Lesson from Kyrsten: Taking a Risk

Ordinary Life Lesson from Kyrsten: Taking a Risk

Photo via flicker under the creative commons license

In your lifetime if the opportunity occurs to move to a different state, you should take it because it gives you a chance to experience something new and outside your comfort zone.

My aunt, who is in the Navy, was on deployment out at sea when we got a call from her asking if I could come down to Virginia for 8+ weeks to watch my two year old cousin, Leo. I did not know how to feel because that meant I had to leave my family, friends, and boyfriend, all the comfortable things in my life here. It made me unsure of what to do. But I took the courage and just went.  Many people told me it would be such a cool opportunity. I did not believe them, but I did it anyway. 

When I got there, I first had to get settled in, and Leo had to get used to me. We ended up staying in a camper because my aunt was in the middle of living situations. It was a challenge for sure, but we made it work.  You know, sometimes in life you just have to do that, make the best out of a challenging situation! 

Once Leo and I were feeling good about being around each other, we decided that we needed to get out of the camper and experience all that Virginia has to offer. We of course did little kid faves, like swimming. He loves jumping into the water with his little floaty. It was a special one that was for little kiddos that can’t swim. Definitely recommend it!!

We also went on a lot of walks around the campground, where he drove his little electric car around, that was his favorite activity to do for sure! 

Leo and I
Watching for dolphins (April Osendorf)

We also went to the beach. It was cool to always go to the ocean instead of the lake. Along with all of those activities I traveled around Virginia a little bit. We drove four hours to Lynchburg, Virginia. We went to the Virginia Safari Park and The Natural Bridge.

Natural Bridge
The Natural Bridge (Kyrsten Salzl)

Another cool thing we got to do is go on a huge boat and go dolphin watching. They would come jumping out of the water; Leo got so excited it was so cute! All of these experiences were super cool to see because you don’t see a lot of this stuff in Minnesota. It was weird to be doing so many of these things alone, which is not what I would have normally done in MN in my normal, everyday life.  

Going through all of this I have learned a lot about myself and just being an adult in general. My aunt’s job was very demanding and her hours were very long! So her duty days lasted for 48 straight hours, so therefore I was alone with Leo for two days.

One big thing I learned is patience. I actually taught Leo about patience because if I was learning about it then he should too! So being patient is hard for example when Leo would put on his sandals he would insist on doing it himself. So I would have to sit there and wait for him to put on his sandals. As time went by he got faster and better, so being patient was a blessing in disguise because he was learning and developing a new task. When it was time to brush his teeth, he would want to do it so I would tell him patience and to let me do it first, then after he would let me do it he would get to do it because he was patient. It is not easy because some days are brutal. But as the weeks went on things got easier. 

Another lesson I learned was foresight. If you don’t know what that is well let me tell you.  Before I went to Virginia I was horrible at it. I never knew you had to do that with a child because I was always self-centered. I only had myself to take care of. When he and I would want to go to the pool I would pack the bag, the sunscreen, the life jacket and everything that we needed. I did this all while he was taking his nap. So when he woke up we could just get on our swimsuits and leave. Another example would be when we would want to go to the beach.  Now this was a bigger one because we had to pack snacks, water, milk, fruit, etc. Towels, Leo’s tube, swim diaper, sunscreen, and a mini fan because the heat is real in Virginia. So foresight is now a master skill of mine, because you always have to do it with kids. It essentially makes your life ten times easier and saves time. That way you are not running out the door because you forgot to pack in advance.

Waiting for Mommy to pull in
Waiting for Mommy to pull in (Kloey Sand)

Now my last lesson and probably the most important one is don’t take your family for granted. It was definitely a big change. I was away from my mom, my sisters, and my best friend. It was so hard because despite them being annoying I missed them every second of the day. I couldn’t just go hug my mom or talk to her any time of day. My sisters, well, they hated it without me because I was always the one there for them. They would call me ranting about the other all the time, and I would always say well it is a part of life but you are also not thousands of miles away from your mom and each other. You never realize how much you appreciate your family until you don’t have them around. Being away from my family and best friend was hard but they helped me through it one hundred percent. Every day when I was sad or down they would help me stay positive and let me know that it wasn’t forever.



USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) on JED Little Creek Base Virginia Beach, VA  (Kyrsten Salzl)

With this whole lesson what I realized most is that my aunt is a strong mother! She is obviously in the Navy, and it doesn’t matter if you have a child or not or how old they are, you still have to do it. Leo was a little over one year old when she had to leave him for 8+ straight months with little to no contact with him. I could never do that I definitely look up to her in many ways but the biggest one is her strength. 

So not only did this change me, but it also exposed me to a whole new world of parenting, and it is no joke. Even though it was scary and out of my comfort zone, I would definitely recommend taking risks in life and doing things you wouldn’t normally do.