It’s funny how things change the older you get. You tend to gravitate towards the quieter things in life.
Except your children don’t let you.
They ignore me when I explain how getting older changed me and those thrilling roller coasters now tend to turn my stomach and make me dizzy. (I’m super grateful for the at least 5 adults who have verified that in conversations in front of my kids with no prompting from me. “I don’t know what happened, but my stomach just can’t take those rides anymore. The older I’ve gotten, the dizzier they’ve made me”)
But, kids are kids and they have that way of looking at the world.
“Get on the ride with me Mum, this is going to be epic.”
They keep me young. I’m not going to miss out on fun adventures with them. But more importantly, I want them to learn that most of our fears are unfounded, and we can overcome them simply by taking a breath and walking with them.
I embrace the dizzy and move forward,
“Let Mummy show you, you have nothing to be afraid of.”
There I go on another loop the loop, holding Kalyra’s hand and screaming my head of.
I do get to a point, where I tell her no more. The head is aching and the body is spinning and I just can’t do it.
But, I’m on this adventure with them.
We started the 90 degree vertical climb up the Sponge Bob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge at Nickelodeon Universe in Mall of America.
“I’m so scared Mum. I don’t want to do it.” Kalyra grabbed my hand as we slowly crawled up.
I’m hyperventilating beside her. “You’ll be right love. You’ve done this before. I’m scared too. Let’s sing a song as we go up. “
For lack of a better song slicing through the fear, I start singing Mary Had a Little Lamb. Kalyra bursts into giggles and starts singing her own ditty. Before we know it, we’ve reached the top and our laughter has turned to screams as we dip 90 degrees straight down the other side.
Kalyra’s second favorite ride at the Nickelodeon Universe theme park inside of @MallofAmerica was SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge roller coaster. That’s her in the top left corner just as they started the vertical drop. Zoom in for a funny hair look 🙂 #BloomingtonMN Partnership with @BloomingtonMN #familytravel . . . . . . . . . . #Mallofamerica #MOA #themepark #Minnesota #travelwithkids #mall #shopping #shoppingmall #rollercoaster #themeparks #visitminnesota #visittheusa #Minnesotatrip #Minnesotabound #travel #Minneapolis #kidstravel #Bloomingtonminnesota #nickelodeon #nickelodeonuniverse #spongebob
We stay on the ride to go around again. This time I sing “So what?” by Pink. A bit more suitable to our rock star vibe.
Theme parks and adventure activities can be so exhausting when you reach your 40’s. It’s harder to balance and focus your eyes, because well now you’re 40.
The recovery from the intense concentration and energy that is consumed when anticipating and overcoming a fear is slower. And as I mentioned, all the rides, make you dizzy and nauseous, even basic playground swings do.
I just want to plant roses in a garden, drink chamomile tea and read the words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama while swaying gently in a hammock, but here I am 4 stories high attached to a cable above by a harness and walking across a freaking balance beam.
I’ve been doing this fear busting thing for years: bungee jumping off a 50 meter tower, getting up o talk to 500 high school boys in Bangkok who didn’t understand a lick of what I had to say, and getting into the rehabilitation pen with a wild cheetah .. that charged at the keeper in front of us.
I’m just not sure how many more years I can do this for.
Here we go again, walking up the high ropes obstacle course.
Starting with a 55 ft high zip line across above the theme park the Mall of America. This I can handle. It’s gentle enough, and although high, I feel safe attached to the harness and free as a bird.
But then we go up on the high ropes overcoming obstacle challenges, some of them literally tight walking across a wobbling single rope. The impending sense of emptiness surrounds me in all directions. I feel so vulnerable and ungrounded. I shake, I feel like sitting down in tears. I just can’t take this fear anymore.
Kalyra yells out to me to turn around and look at her yet again. I’m spread out like a five point star across the ropes trying to shuffle my body across and not fall off. “Um I can’t quite look at you now. I’m kinda tangled up here. Can you wait till I reach the base?”
Of course she doesn’t hear, or care.
“Mum. Mum. Muuuuummmmm Look at me.”
I turn my head slightly, enough to make her think I’ve taken a peek. “Awesome Kalyra.”
Savannah monkey swings her way across. I watch her courage and confidence and the fear leaps up to a new level.
What the hell have I done? Teaching the girls to embrace their fears. Visions of her free diving and rock climbing up Clingman’s Dome cloud my vision. I almost scream,
“Get off of this thing right now young lady. This is too dangerous and I don’t want you doing this again. Wrap yourself up in this cotton wool right now.”
But instead, “Whoa. Look at you! You’re so brave and so good at this.” God I’m an idiot.
The girls run across the horizontal ladder beckoning me to follow.
Right I’m going up it the last level. Quickly zip around it. Not look down and freak myself. Then I’m getting off it. Once around each level is enough for me. The girls can keep going.
“Mum are you going to walk the plank?”
I look up tot he 4th story above. The plank juts out 56 ft high above the theme park floor. I’m as high as the sponge bob tower and can possibly touch the roof. Are you kidding me? Walk the Plank was sprung on me at Great Wolf Lodge. It was only two stories high and as I got to the edge of it bounced and scared the shit out of me.
“Nah. I’m not doing it. You girls can.”
I follow them to show them Mumma’s got their back and will watch and cheer them on.
Six year old Savannah struts out first. Stands on the edge, wiggles her butt in a little catwalk dance and strides back with a charming victory smile.
I can’t not do it now.
Here I go. Staying young. Keeping fearless and strutting out on the plank with a little wiggle of the butt.
Kalyra and Craig follow the Savannah trend.
Okay time to go.
“Wait. We’ve got to take the slide down to the bottom.”
I look up yet another level.
Here we go.
It’s a bump da bump ride the whole way down.
The headache comes immediately.
“Gawd love that was a bit rough. I’ve got a headache. Do you?”
No, it was smooth for me. I’m going back up to do it again.
What is it with the 40’s?
I really need to get a house with a garden, a library and a good supply of incense.