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When Proximity Limits Growth

My 10-year old neighbor got me to ride the Skyflyer at a local amusement park. We were winched up 160 feet off the ground. Then dropped. I screamed … for a long time. The two girls that bookend me didn’t make a peep. It was terrifying and wonderful at the same time.

Only my husband knew that I have a fear of heights. One year on a trip to Paris he wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower. I balked. I have no idea where this came from. I’m typically pretty fearless. When I was younger my dad took me to tour several dams and on helicopter rides … I have no idea when this fear wedged itself inside and took hold.

Here I was at an amusement park with my daughter and her friend. We made a pledge that we would not ride any rides that everyone didn’t agree to go on. I love roller coasters and going fast, those rides that take you up in the air … not a big fan. So what do the two girls that I took to the park want to do? Go on all the super high rides.

La-la, our 10-year old neighbor, sees the Skyflyer and shares that she’d like to try it. I tell her I think it looks pretty cool. Over the next hour we keep talking about it and we all agree, we are going to ride the Skyflyer.

After we are suited up, both girls second guess this choice. I’m too stubborn to back out so I go right into the positive “this is going to be great” banter. That is the only way I made it through the ride. As they hoist us up, I couldn’t do more than stare at my feet. La-la tells me she can’t pull the rip cord. I tell her once she can do it, mostly in a whisper because that is all that will come out of my mouth. When they count us down, she pulls the cord.

I screamed all the way down. My daughter had to tell me to let go of their arms so I could grab the hook to get us back on the ground.

When I get home my husband says there is no way he would have done that ride. I tell him I surprised myself. Had we gone to the park together, we would have never chosen to get on this ride.

I consider that had it just been my daughter and I, we would have done the park very differently. It would have been fun, but we had way more of an adventure because my 10-year old neighbor had no idea I didn’t like heights. I would have just told my daughter “Mom can’t go on that ride.”

How much of our issue with our parents is that the more familiar, the less likely we are to challenge, accept, or push? As recommended before by Dr. Agronin we need to “selectively engage” our parents. In some cases, our familiarity is a boundary to moving forward to a positive solution for us all. Considered.

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