Several years ago, when I was still in my thirties, I spent a day at an amusement park with my family. The kids were still in elementary school, I think. I had wanted to skydive for many years, but have not been in a position to be able to do it. So when I saw the attraction they called a “sky harness”, which essentially somewhat simulates an experience between skydiving and a Bungi jump, it didn’t take much to talk me into going for it. You are all harnessed up with the same sort of getup they attach to a parachute, complete with a “rip cord”, which you have to deploy yourself. You are rigged up to a bungi-type apparatus, and they raise you up really high on a platform. When you are ready, you pull the cord and the bottom of the platform drops out and you take the “death defying plunge” hundreds of feet and then there is sort of an arcing follow-through swing and a bounce or two and it’s all over. They lower you the rest of the way to the ground, and you are done.
The person working the attraction told me while I was getting out of the harness,that she thought for certain that I had passed out because I had not screamed like everyone else does, even the men. I didn’t scream because I was crying from the wonderful sensation of weightlessness that came with the drop. It was the first time in years that I didn’t feel like the “weight of the world” was on me. It was probably a hundred and eighty seconds or less, but it was a hundred and eighty seconds of pure joy.
Our youngest son has always loved to run fast and climb and jump and go full-throttle. A few years ago my husband offered to purchase an actual tandem jump experience for me but my health still wouldn’t have permitted it at that time. When our son’s eighteenth birthday was pending, we decided a skydive experience was totally what he should have for his birthday. Strangely enough, I did not feel the first qualm about him doing it. Some people have an internal need for adrenaline-fueled thrills. He is one of those people who is going to do these things, and I sat on the kid as long as I could, knowing the day would come when I would not be able to hold him back from risking life and limb.
The first time my husband took him outside the yard on his tricycle he headed straight down a hill towards the four lane road that is the entrance to our city from this side of town, and hollered “Iiii’m nooooot stooooping!”, while my husband broke all previous records for the sixty yard dash. The same kid got away from me on the “lazy river” (which is four feet of water)when he was three feet tall. You just float pleasantly along a trough of sorts, in your little inner tube, cooling off, so we thought, okay, a win-wind. Mom and dad get to rest, kids get to be wet. But Isaac had other ideas. He apparently thought it was a race. He was paddling and kicking and everything else. Crazy teenagers on the sidelines were no help. Here I was, abandoned the float because I couldn’t zip in and out between all the other people, trying to run in water up to my chest, my first-grader son getting further and further away, and they were all like “m’am, you have to stay in your inner-tube, get back into your float” blowing their whistles at me and I am trying to breathe and run and give them the hairy eyeball and explain that my son was floating way up yonder without me or his dad, all at the same time. So. Yeah. If you have one of those, you know exactly how it is. Too bad I wasn’t blogging back then! I would have had no lack of material. Both of our sons were hilarious kids. That laughter got us through a lot!