People always compare life and motherhood to a roller coaster. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to realize how true that statement is with my own children. On Saturday my sister and I took our children to Sea World, San Antonio, where the older kids discovered they were tall enough to ride a roller coaster – the Steel Eel. Boy were they excited. After recently watching a tv show about the extreme thrill of roller coasters, they just HAD to experience it for themselves.
Getting caught up in their excitement, I said I would take them on the ride. Shelly, my sister, seem surprised. After all, I am not a thrill seeker, extreme adventurer, or a roller coaster person. In fact, it’s been over fifteen years since I’ve been on one.
However, the only thing I could think about was how much my kids and niece/Goddaughter wanted to do this. Without my husband there, it was up to me to take them. Within ten minutes of agreeing, I found myself strapped into a roller coaster, terrified for the kids and myself. As we rode up the long incline listening to the “click, click, click” of the track, my mind started thinking, “Am I sure this was a good idea?”
Then the roller coaster came to a complete stop. Sitting there stopped, really high in the air, facing up the track of a roller coaster I felt my own panic start to well up. My eight-year-old behind me started to cry, screaming, “I don’t want to do this, I want to get off!” I quickly realized my own mind was saying the exact same thing, but I couldn’t let her know I was scared. The first thing that popped into my head was to pray aloud the Hail Mary to calm us down, and as we started our prayer, the ride began moving forward again.
As we headed over the first big drop, I remembered exactly why I don’t like roller coasters. Over the next two drops I worried like crazy about my children. “What type of mother puts her 6-year old on a big roller coaster? Is he really ready for this? How is my daughter doing behind me? Is she ok?”
About halfway through the ride, I let it go. I accepted the fact that there was nothing I could do and it would all be over soon. I could deal with any consequences when we got off.
When that ride pulled back into the station, I was positively green and shaking. My 6 year old thought it was “Awesome!” and my daughter, though shaking, agreed with her little brother. I was the only one who didn’t enjoy it.
As mothers, sometimes we do crazy silly impulsive things for our children and worry ourselves over it. This experience reminded me that when life is like a roller coaster, I need to take a deep breath, pray a Hail Mary, and let it go.
Copyright 2010 Lisa Jones