I’ve always been a daredevil. Well…a safe one. My motto is “YOLO, but don’t die”.
The boy, on the other hand, has always proceeded with caution and lived vicariously through me. When I skydived, he was supportive and even expressed interest in doing it one day, but then was nervous about jumping from the top ladder on a climber at the park. He has aspirations but rarely leaps before fully assessing all possible risks.
When we traveled to Southern Africa for spring break this year, we visited Victoria Falls and I told him that I was thinking of jumping off the bridge. He was extremely supportive and said he would even record the event on my phone and take pictures. When we arrived at the bridge, he decided that he wanted to do it. However, the only option for him to do anything remotely close to that was to do a tandem zip line with me. We took a break for lunch and to take in the scenery from the bridge. Even while looking at the feat he would have to conquer, he insisted that he was ready.
At this point in the day, they were closing up shop so it was now or never. We signed up and waited to be harnessed in. The entire time, the boy was quiet. I was constantly asking him if he was okay and if he was sure he wanted to do i. He insisted he was okay, keeping his game face on. They explained the rules and safety to us and strapped us in.
At this time, the boy got really tense. I think he started to reevaluate all his life choices that led him to that point. He, of course, was in front and had a premium view of the drop and held on to the cord with dear life. As his mother, I know I wasn’t supposed to laugh, but to see his mixture of anxiety and regret in my child’s face, one that I had NEVER seen before, was slightly comical to me. Asking him one last time if he was sure, he maintained his gangster.
We were given the count down and…”bye bye”. We were let go and the next thing I knew we were soaring through the air. It was the most glorious 13 seconds ever. Well…maybe longer than 13 seconds, but it went really quickly.
With a Go Pro in hand, I tried to simultaneously record our reactions and take it all in.
There is this shift that happened as we were floating across the sky. At one point, you’re insanely stoked that you’re 39 stories above crashing rocks and possibly crocodiles and excited and then completely overwhelmed at your kid and realizing his bravery at that moment. It was amazing. That’s the only word I can use right now to describe that experience. Even in reflecting while writing this now, I still can’t come up with anything above amazing.
But that’s my kid. Absolutely amazing and constantly surprising me with his courage and acts of bravery. Not just with conquering an unrealized fear of heights, but with the resiliency and courage it takes to move away from all you have ever known and trust your mother to move thousands of miles away. He has been nothing but supportive and understanding and I couldn’t have asked for a more incredible child to raise and grow with.
Excited to see what shenanigans he gets me into when we move abroad.