She looks towards me, turning her head from the airplane window. Her smile is wide. There is joy and excitement that clings to every soft squeal she makes and how she tilts her head. “Mom, look!”
In that moment, I see Ryan and am transported; back in time and another family trip.
We are going to Tampa. Busch Gardens is our first stop and he is tall enough to go on all rides. I know this, because my son has done his research. But he has saved his excitement for the holy grail of roller coasters here; The SheiKra, the first dive roller coaster to be built in North America. The floors retract and it climbs to an astonishing 200 ft at 47 degrees. It is like being on the wings of a plane. It waits at the top for 4 long, interminable secs before dropping you below. The rest is unimportant since my eyes are tightly closed. I hate heights. “Come on …mom, dad …please please can we all go on?” Ryan begs us. Vomit in my throat, I agree. I feel like I rarely said no, despite my discomfort. After all, I would say most of parenthood is filled with the disquiet of constant growth. We evolve over time, but it often is at our own expense. Growth is never easy.
Ok ok …I am rambling. But in my defense, the ride was and still is super scary to me.
The three of us waited in line. Ryan is a bundle of excited nerves. I am a quivering mess. I feel like Scott is nonchalant. Damn that man. We sat in the front. Of course we did. The only two seats that my son wants. “ Mom, Mom! You sit with me.” I am torn; plummeting to my death with Ryan by my side or violently heaving and wetting myself one row behind. To this day, I am unsure, if Ryan chose me to be his seat mate because he loved me or because he had some pent up anger over my nutritional school lunch offerings. Up we go. On the longest climbs of my life. I realize I can’t do this. “Ryan, I’m scared.” “ Yah, me too mom. But it won’t last for long. We will be on the ground soon. Do you want to hold my hand?”
Yes, my son, I so desperately do.
He was right. I AM on the ground. Pushing through some of my most harrowing times.
But in the moment of the drop, I swear I could almost fly. To stretch my hands and touch the sky and heaven above.
Me eyes clear, shaking off the memory. I look in my daughter’s eyes and realize that I have been granted some pieces of heaven here on earth.
“Yes, baby girl…show me what you see.”