I wasn’t nervous strapping up. I wasn’t nervous walking to the plane. I wasn’t nervous taking off. I wasn’t nervous when the other people started jumping.
But when it was my turn and I got to the door and realized there was no one else waiting to jump? Oh. My. God. That was a LONG way to fall. And I was trusting it all to a 30-something-year-old dude named Manny and what was essentially a tarp to keep us from plummeting to our death.
Oddly, my thoughts were not about my life ending. Well, they were, but they were aimed at my girls. What if something happened and they were left without a mom? Skydiving was something I had always wanted to do, something I had almost done a few times – including just after I’d found out I was pregnant. I didn’t go then because I had heard that it wasn’t safe while carrying a child. So I waited. Until Madelyn was a little over two months old, and I thought that was better.
Then I looked down at the earth from 14,000 feet in the sky and saw a whole lot of earth… and a whole lot of nothing else.
In the few seconds between the first person jumping (who happened to be my husband going backwards out of the plane, and then proceeding to flip end over end – thank goodness I didn’t see that!) and me getting to the door, all I could think about was my girls.
I have never been the kind of girl who takes crazy risks. I like to have adventures, but not usually of the death-defying variety. Before this, the scariest thing I had ever done was cliff diving. Skydiving was a whole new level. And since I met my husband and became a mom, I most definitely have not done anything that could really hurt me.
My last thought before I jumped (ok, was pushed!) out of the plane was whether or not this made me a bad mom. Was it selfish to do something so dangerous just for fun? I had more than just myself to worry about. I had two small girls that needed a mom. And theirs was about to freefall for no reason other than because I thought it would be fun.
And then it was my turn. I resisted the urge to scoot to the edge as much as I could, but Manny was surprisingly strong for someone so short. I took one last breath, closed my eyes and we jumped. With my eyes still closed, I screamed for a few seconds, and then finally worked up the courage to look. It was beautiful. I was still terrified – he had to tap me a few times before I took my hands off the harness and let them fly – but it was quite the rush.
Once he pulled the chute, it was even kind of relaxing (except for the harness around my legs, that was just painful). I felt like I was floating. We were spinning, dipping, and swerving above the North Shore. We landed, somewhat roughly, and I walked over to my husband. He gave me a huge hug and we walked over to Madelyn, who was waiting patiently with my aunts. (Cailin was in school.)
I picked her up and she grinned at me, and I decided then that just because I am a mom doesn’t mean I can’t have adventures. I just need to make sure that they are well-planned adventures, and as safe as possible. (Caleb had researched for days before settling on the best-reputed skydiving place on the island.) If I wuss out on things because I’m a mom, what is that teaching my daughters? That it’s okay to find excuses not to do things that scare you and thrill you? No. Not a lesson I want my girls to learn. I want them to know that they can do anything.
Holding her, realizing that, having just jumped out of a plane… I felt awesome. I was super woman. That feeling lasted a while – I found myself grinning for no reason, thinking I could do anything. I could take on the world.
My girls didn’t let that last too long, though. Cailin had a fit that afternoon, and Madelyn spit up all over me at lunch. I was, quite literally, brought back down to earth… back to the ever exciting adventure of motherhood.
Thanks for keeping momma grounded, girls.