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Monday, June 25, 2012

Intestinal fortitude

It's been said that parenting isn't for wimps. I have to agree, mostly because this weekend brought to light 2 very different occasions to prove my courage.

First, our very favorite summer day camp of all time -- Camp All-American -- opened its pools and zip lines to all the families whose kids are attending this summer. I've wanted to do this for at least the past 3 years. . . and this year, I made it! Here's me climbing the 90+-foot cargo net to get up to that terrifyingly small platform, 60 feet up:

Now, I've been working out and figured I had some decent upper arm strength. But when I got about 2/3 of the way up, I started looking around -- but not looking down, for heaven's sake! -- for the friendly, muscle-bound guy who'd just haul me up the rest of the way. Sadly, it was not to be. I soldiered on.

At the top, it was quite warm after all the exertion, plus being closer to the sun. And it was crowded. Not sure if you can tell or not, but there were already 6 or 7 people up there when I arrived. The helpful pushers people-launchers asked me to just kindly stand next to the big pole, and I gladly hugged it tight.

The problem was that, just about that time, I looked down to the pool. There were The Husband and Boys #1 and #2, cheering for me; they had absolutely no idea that, had there been a chicken door*, I'd have taken it in a heartbeat. It was breezy. The platform seemed awfully insubstantial beneath my feet. And every additional person climbing up the blasted cargo net -- Where are they going to put all these people?? -- sent tremors and waves up the cables to shake and volley the platform.

And then it got better. 

Because I got to step up on an even tinier platform all by myself, with a hook ramming into the small of my back. (If you can see the 3 things that look like boxes jutting out of the front, that's what I'm talking about.) That lovely pole I'd been hugging was now behind me, making it next to impossible to hug securely. Then the pusher people-launcher unhooked my safety tether. They nonchalantly explained how to squat down and then, when you're ready, just lift your feet.

It truly sounded undoable, and the lady next to me was even more chicken than I was (which is one of my favorite gauges of success these days. See Facing fears for more detail). I was thinking maybe the 3 of us would go at the same time -- which seemed to be what her husband was coaching her to do -- but, when she failed his second countdown, I decided just to go and maybe spur her on.

Oh. My. Goodness. Once my feet left that cipher of a platform, it was truly glorious. Swooshing down 1300 feet over the pools and playing fields, thinking that must be how it feels to fly. Wow.

Getting down at the other end of the zipline was another trial, but much less traumatic. It involved a couple guys, one of those really tall, free-standing, movable ladders that you see at Lowe's, and trial-and-error.

In the second incident, I dropped off Boy #1 this morning for a week of Cub Scout camp. Sleep-away camp. For a week.

I know, I know. He's growing up, which is what he's supposed to do. He'll be safe. He'll be with friends -- those his age as well as their fathers, whom we know and trust. It'll be good for him. Build character. Learn about himself. Blah, blah, blah. All this mama's heart knows is that he's an hour and a half away, sleeping in a tent when it's 10,000 degrees outside, and I'm pretty sure they won't let him eat peanut butter for lunch every day. He's already skinny! Will he come home starved? Will he be homesick? If he is, will they let him call?

Yeah, yeah, I know. I know. The good news is he's been gone more than 8 hours and nobody's called (yet) to say we should meet them at the hospital.

*The chicken door is that camouflaged door near the getting-on place for rides, specifically at Disney World, but probably found elsewhere, that lets you leave if you chicken out at the last moment. Having recently visited the Mouse kingdom, our less-than-intrepid older son is now expert at finding -- and using -- the chicken door.

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