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How Installing a Zip Line in the Backyard taught our Daughter a Life Lesson

Family Photo Session in Bay Area by Beautiful Stories Photography

Kiara Zipped through her newly planted zipline, between her tree house and an Acacia tree in our backyard. This was the very first test run and she was excited beyond words.

She could barely contain her excitement through the setting up process and could not wait to live the best summer of her life yet.

She and Vicky had spent an entire afternoon in the sun(the only day it was 90f!) and were hot and sweaty.


But what's a little heat for a kid who has dreamt and worked for this fun for nearly a month. 

And then I heard a loud creek!


Half way through the zipline, the tree house started to give up and a big chunk of the wood was getting peeled away from the tree house.

Stop, stop, stop” I shouted.

I was worried the big chunk of wood would peel away and go with her on the zipline!


She stopped mid way to watch her tree house give away!

All the excitement quickly fading to disappointment. Not only could she not zip through her zipline, the tree house that she loved, almost ripped away.


My heart ached for her.


She had been planning and waiting for this day for a long time.

She convinced Vicky and created an agreement where she would do certain chores, eat all her food without any fuss and not wear socks(a long story for some other day!) the entire time to get her zipline installed.

She even had a few extra days added to her timeline when she failed to comply with her agreement.

But she never gave up hope and kept at her plan!


Now,  I know it's not that big of an agreement, just some chores right?

But when you are 10, working towards a goal is kind of a big deal!

And especially if it involves eating without any fuss ;-)


Anyways, we did have a situation that needed addressing. I told Kiara, now was the time to think of a plan B. The zipline from the treehouse is not going to work!


By now she knows that instead of crying over plan A, brainstorming plan B is a better use of time and energy. 

So we started discussing what we could do.

-Tree house was not going to work

- We did not have another tree across our backyard

- Having a diagonal zip line was not going to work

- Discussed about donating the zipline to the local park( another fun story here, for some other time), Kiara was too heartbroken to be generous!


That left us with one final option  


A zipline from our tree to the neighbors tree on the other side of the fence.


That way she could zipline within our yard and we could put stoppers on the zipline so she never reaches the fence.


Yessss!!! This could work! 



  • We get a zipline of twice the length

  • We can convince our neighbors, an elderly couple, who do not even answer their door bell, to let us install a zipline in their backyard.


Talk about hurdles after hurdles. That’s what we were dealing with here. 

Finding a zipline of twice the length was the easier part, the hardest was to convince our neighbors to let us install the zipline.


I told Kiara to write a letter to them, that is the only way to communicate anyways if they won’t answer the doorbell and explain to them clearly what you want and why you want it. And here’s what she wrote:


Dear Neighbor,

So, my dad got me a zipline to put in my backyard. It was very hard completing the challenge. I had to do chores, eat all my food and not wear socks at all. And when I got it, my dad put it to the tree and the tree house. But the house could not withstand my weight. Sooooo can I please tie it to your tree? It won’t zipline on your side. I just need to secure the zipline… 

Your slightly depressed neighbor. 

We both went to their house, rang the doorbell, no one answered, so we left the letter at their doorstep hoping they would read it.


We had done all that we could and now it was up to them.


Within 10 minutes our neighbor was at our door. They wanted to make sure Kiara was not too sad and said of course we could install the zipline in their yard first thing tomorrow morning!


I wish I had recorded her reaction! 


She could not believe our neighbors came to our house to check on her and agreed to the zipline.


I think they loved my letter, mommy

They surely did!


The next day we installed the zipline and have been watching Kiara zip through our yard day and night with this huge smile on her face.


Both Kiara and us, learned a very important lesson that day!


We carry so many judgements and preconceived notions with us about people and places and services and often find ourselves caught by surprise!

I wish every once in a while we could pull ourselves out of our preconceived notions and look at the world with a fresh perspective. 


And never, ever, underestimate the power of our words.

When used correctly, words can move hearts!


Hi! I am Heena.
Your very own Family Photographer!

I am a mom and to two little munchkins and just like you I am a memory keeper of mprecious little family.


This is why I created this Memory Keeper's Handbook. My hope is with this Memory Keeper's Handbook you will be able to preserve the beautiful and fleeting moments of everyday life.

I believe the most important legacy that we give our children is happy memories.



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