I don't consider myself much of a thrill-seeker. I have never had any desire to bungee jump or throw myself out of an airplane. (Unless I have a Wii remote in my hand and my tush is nestled on my couch!) I don't much like heights (translated: My knees get rubbery and my stomach flips a bit while standing at the window on the 5th floor at the hospital) and speed makes me nervous.
How is it then that I found myself giddy and grinning at the top of the tower waiting to shoot down The Scorpion's Tail at Noah's Ark Waterpark? I have no idea.
As I stood at the bottom of the slide and watched our nephew exit the water with a enormous smile on his face, I found myself turning to Brett and saying, "Let's do it!" I think Brett was just as surprised as I was at those words.
Before I could change my mind, we headed up the path to the ride. As we trudged along, I teeter-tottered back and forth between excitement, dread, and a nervous twitch. Half-way up the stairs, I felt myself waver a bit, but as I am a person who sees all tasks through to their respective ends, I knew I wouldn't turn around. Especially seeing as Brett was immediately behind me. Blocking my escape. :)
As it was a cloudy morning, there wasn't much of a crowd at the waterpark. While it was great to not have to wait in line, that also meant that before I had much time to consider this crazy decision to plunge "ten stories down" at "50-feet per second". I guess that was probably a good thing. Before I knew it, I was facing the slide attendant who asked me to stand on a scale to verify I was heavy enough ... "uh, yeah ... I weigh more than 90 pounds ... thanks for the compliment, though!". Then, before I stepped into the coffin, er, chamber, he said, "You might want to tuck in the top of your swimsuit."
I nodded, tucked, gulped and stepped into the sarcophagus. I crossed my arms over my chest ... it was getting more coffin-like by the moment ... and wondered once again, "What are you doing?!?"
Then the friendly, computer lady interrupted my last thoughts and started the countdown ... "Three, Two, One" ...
The floor dropped out of the casket and I screamed for the next 30 seconds. Intermixed with hysterical laughter and maniacal shrieking. I shot straight down and then suddenly my feet were above my head and I was going up. As I reached the top of the loop, I slowed down ... but only for a moment. It was just long enough for me to take a deep breath, get a shot of chlorinated water full in the face and be shoved around the bend by the blast ... then the screeching started up again.
As I saw daylight again at the end of the tunnel, my howling began to subside. I was ejected out of the slide and came to a dead-stop in the water trough at the end of the ride. Upon standing, I was painfully aware of three things: my sinuses were thoroughly cleansed, my suit had rearranged itself resulting in an extreme wedgie and I was grateful that I had tucked my tankini top in.
All I could respond with was, "Wow! What a rush!" I finally had a little taste of what those crazy thrill-seekers experience ... and I understood how that adrenaline can be addicting. When my sister-in-law paused and asked, "Did you like it?", all I could say was, "Yes ... I'll go with you!" Back-to-back craziness!
I can honestly say that the second time down was worse than the first because I knew what was coming and the anticipation was scarier than the actual ride. I can also say with all honesty that I think I have fulfilled my need for speed, heights and insanity all in one day.
I'm not entirely sure what I learned that day (other than the fact that your sinuses can drain for a very long time following being fully flushed with 500 gallons of water), but I think that I will have a better understanding of my son in the coming years. Inevitably, Aaron-boy is going to go through a phase of risk-taking, whether it's biking at the speed of light, bouldering down a mountainside (with his Dad) or the latest mind-blowing rollercoaster at Elitch Gardens.
More than anything I don't want to be a helicopter-mom, hovering around him, over-using the phrase, "Be careful."
I want to be able to share in his excitement (from my secure location on the bench) and celebrate the desires he has to experience life fully. I hope my trip down The Scorpion's Tail will help with that ... if nothing else hopefully he'll be able to look back with pride on, "that one time my mom took a risk" and screamed through the whole thing!