Last October Adam and I took the kids to Haunt at Canada's Wonderland. We weren't going to do the scary asylum/club vampire/mother noose stuff. We wanted to ride the rides at night and have a few teenagers dressed up as zombies jump out at us.
Now, for this story to resonate you have to know two things:
1. Somehow, Adam is the fun parent. While it was balanced between us for a while, after our trip to the UK last year - it was no contest. Dad was way more fun than Mom. And last October as we walked around Haunt - the two kids fighting each other to hold dad's hand while I was like three paces behind - I felt this incredibly keenly. My jealousy...it burned.
2. I am deeply scared of heights. Vertigo-style. Standing up high or at the edge of something - or having my kids stand at the edge of something - I have the sensation of falling. I can not over-state this - it's horrible.
So, there I am three paces behind my children and super-fun husband, when we walk by the Wind Seeker ride. Which, for those who might not know - is one of those spinning swing rides, only it goes up three hundred feet into the air while it spins. 300 hundred feet. It was higher than the crane building a condo nearby.
Mick says: "I want to go on that."
Super-fun Adam says: "No way, it spins. I don't do spin rides."
Mick says: "I'll go by myself."
Adam looks back at me and shrugs and I see my chance.
Stick-in-the-mud-scared-of-heights-Molly says; "I'll go with you."
Everyone laughs. But I'm serious so Mick and I go and stand in the line. Adam shakes his head at me but than takes Lucy off to get some over-priced glowing antenna thing and Mick and I hang out in line. We talk, I make a joke, he laughs. I can feel my fun-meter rising.
But then he tells me I don't have to do this. That he understands. He tells me it's nice I'm with him in line, but that he knows I'm scared.
And I almost take the out - because I am scared. But then I think about what am I saying to him about facing fears. If I get out of that line, I'm telling him it's okay to let fear make you lose out on something fun. Or life-changing. When you let fear make your decisions for you - your world gets smaller. I believe that. I don't want my kids to feel that way.
Nope. I'm staying in. And now, I'm feeling pretty virtuous. Look at me - I am both fun and having a teaching moment. Excuse me while I polish my crown.
Then we get rounded up into these little corrals because we're next. And the fear is now doing something to my bladder. And I might throw up. And I'm thinking of how Mick might slip out from under the lap bar and how I'll just hold onto him. 300 feet in the air, I'll just use all my strength to keep Mick from falling through the lap bar to his death.
Mick is so excited. Talking non-stop. Wondering if anyone has ever gotten hit by a bird while they're up there.
This never occurred to me and now I'm scarred of getting hit by a bird.
Mick says: "Mom, it's not too late."
But it is. We're in the seat. The lap bar is coming down. It was so scary I remember the feeling as I type this and it feels like my heart is going to come out through my ears.
I say: "Shit."
Mick says: "swear jar."
But I can't stop. All I can do is swear. The swear jar is overflowing with money at this point.
And then we're going up. So high. And I am Blair Witch Project crying. Projectile snot.
Mick says: "Mom, you're hurting me."
I say: "Oh god. Oh my god."
Why am I trying to clean this up? There were like five f-bombs in that sentence.
I let go of him and hold onto the chain by my head as hard as I can.
Mick says: "Look mom, a cloud!"
But now I'm just crying and swearing and I have my eyes squeezed shut and Mick is going to have to fend for himself. I mean, good luck to him and everything, but I have to hold this chain or I will die.
The ride lasts seven hundred hours.
Finally we are back on solid Earth, my hands are cramped from holding the chain, my tears and snot are frozen to my face and Mick runs off to Super-fun Dad to tell him about the cloud and the crane and how Mom just shut her eyes, cried and swore the entire ride.
To this day, I don't know what I did. Or if it mattered, if my lesson on fear will impact him in any way. Dad's still fun. I'm still scared of heights.
But yesterday walking home from school Mick was doubled-over laughing remembering that story.
And I did it - that counts for something. Right?
And no - I won't ever do that again.