I am a chicken shit.
Anyone who knows me even somewhat well will tell you I hate heights, speed, and I definitely despise roller coasters. (I had a near-death incident on The Demon at Six Flags in Gurnee, Illinois during my eighth grade field trip that changed my outlook about whether or not I should ever again hang upside down and spin around.)
But sometimes, in order to celebrate life, get the family to do something out of the ordinary, and to see how far you can push yourself, you will challenge yourself to things that are completely out of your comfort zone.
For me that was agreeing to be the first in line to go on our inaugural trip to a local indoor skydiving experience called, iFly Dallas.
It all started because Tom turned fifty this week, and I wanted to find something to commemorate that milestone with him. He's a fairly adventurous guy (unlike his wife), so a few weeks ago I thought of [what, to me at the time, was a] brilliant idea...Tom and the boys should go indoor skydiving while the grandmas (Tom's mom came to town to celebrate with us), Mia and myself would make a nice dinner, maybe put up some streamers....you know, take care of all of the very safe, fun, festive birthday party preparations.
Well, the plan I had in mind turned into "this should be a whole family adventure" and all of a sudden I learn we have purchased and booked a group package (for up to 6 people).
I have a couple of kids who, like me, hate taking any kind of risk. So I know, as their mom, if I want them to be willing to leave their comfort zone, I have to be willing to do it FIRST. Using the "I grow because you make me" manta that has come in handy during my 24-year marriage, I agree to going, and I even make sure I am the first in line when we head onto the flight deck.
Of course. long before we arrive at iFly I read all of the information on the website, investing in the "this is a "fun"...EASY experience".
I think to myself, as long as it's nothing like riding a roller coaster I'll be fine.
And it was!
The first time out, that is.
We had paid for two, one-minute trips into the tunnel. I know, this does not sound like much of a big deal at all, and that was the way I looked at it...surely I can do anything for two one-minute increments, right?!
All six of us took our initial flight round really well. Even the two kids who wanted absolutely nothing to do with the experience.
Round two was a different story...for me anyway.
I look Justin (our flight instructor...or tormentor, depending on who is viewing him) in the eyes as I enter the chamber, hoping it conveys everything I want to actually say, but he would never be able to hear..."go easy on me Justin, I HATE heights and even more than that I HATE to spin around"...he smiles and I pray he gets what I am thinking as we begin the second minute together.
To be honest, I think Justin totally understood what I was trying to let him know, but he thought he could convince me otherwise...you know, to release my fear of heights and spinning...
I am not going to lie, as we spun up the tunnel the first time I closed my eyes and of course my go-to word came to mind...
After opening my eyes briefly to see just how high we'd flown, I clamped them tightly shut just in time...I screamed (not that anyone heard me) as we plunged, SPINNING, down to the bottom of the tunnel.
FIVE MORE TIMES!
before he had to take hold my fly suit from behind and direct me out the door because I was so dizzy I couldn't take a straight step.
It was over, I lived through it, but NEVER again will I go indoor (or outdoor for that matter) skydiving.
The kids and Tom bought additional minutes and will return.
Good for them I say.
This family experience is one I am sure we will talk about for a long time. I am happy I took part in it so that my kids could see (a) we can't always predict what mom will do, and (b) mom can do things that cause her anxiety and take her out of her comfort zone, and so can I.
I found out later my husband had paid a little extra so I could have the second flight minute of my life.
Can't wait to see what he has in store for MY fiftieth birthday in a few years...