Monday, June 6, 2011

The Roller Coaster of Youth

Ahhh, summer vacation and the promise of all things wonderful. Its a time for carving out some well deserved time to sit down and relax with a glass of something cool topped off with mint from the garden. Then, it's time for catching up on those books I've been yearning to read for weeks as I'm rushing to grab my car keys, out the door, heading off to work, to the barn, running errands-well,you know how it goes.

Here is what I'm enjoying today:
As part of the kids' end of year school celebration, there was a picnic at Hershey Park this past week. I had been feeling under the weather for a few days leading up to this and didn't really have a chance to get apprehensive about it or experience those butterflies-in my-stomach-the-night-before that I used to get when I was younger before something really special was about to happen.

When we arrived, it was so refreshing to be reminded through the eyes of my children just how wonderful it is to be a kid. The excitement in the air, the anticipation on their faces, oh, the prospect of wonderful things which this way come! Which is how things used to be before my adult mind took over and allowed me to only partake in practical things with calculated outcomes.

It's called growing up.

I had forgotten things like what it feels like to ride a roller coaster because I had convinced my adult self that I suffer from a mean case of motion sickness.

We surveyed the Storm Runner-a huge contraption of steel boasting what seemed like an infinite number of turns and twists complete with a couple of huge loops. My older daughter grabbed my hand and gleefully shouted, "You're mine right now, mom! Let's go!"

How could I say no to that beautiful face, full of youth, her whole life ahead of her-and mine, halfway gone? For a moment, I had nothing to lose-I was sixteen again-it was my last day of school-and I had the whole world ahead of me. Never mind I haven't ridden a roller coaster in about thirty years.

"Sure, why not!" I replied back, smiling, not giving a second thought to the fact that I am a middle aged woman, who is told by her husband all the time that she worries too much and that she needs to live a little. That day I gave in to the young girl inside me who wants so desperately to remember what it's like to feel free and well, young.Today, was the day to do just that.

I gave in to that unabashed surge of adrenaline and pure giddiness one gets as we settled in to the car and the safety bar clicked into place. The feeling of mock terror rushes over me that I used to feel, and glancing sideways at my daughter, we both realize this is it!-No turning back! as we are slowly pulled up the steep incline of track. Just as we reach the top, we're poised for a split second,balancing on the cusp of what is predictable and what will briefly become complete chaos. Memories suddenly flash before me; that thrilling feeling of full knowing what we were about to experience in a nano-second. WHOOSH! We are plummeting straight down at a dizzy speed, feeling the wind whipping at our faces. Screams of horror mixed with delight erupt uncontrollaby from our mouths while the force of gravity takes our breath away and we are catapulted to the next peak. Just as we think we've mastered this thing,our stomachs fly up in our throats as gravity pulls us into another free fall.

In thirty seconds, it's all over.

I turn to my daughter who is totally pumped up, full of excitement. "Let's do it again!" she says breathlessly. I look in her eyes and am taken aback by what a beautiful young woman she has become. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that I can share in this moment with her-her first roller coaster ride.

For a split second in her eyes I see myself staring back. At that very moment I made a silent promise to myself to never forget this. And I made sure to say "Thank you, Lord for this day."

Even if it was for a few fleeting seconds, I remember what it's like to be a kid. Heck, I'm thinking about maybe exploring the possiblity of going with the kids to a concert this summer!

"He remembered that she was pretty, and more, that she had a special grace in the intimacy of life. She had the secret of individuality which excites-and escapes." Joseph Conrad, Victory

XXO, Andi


Lori in PA said...

Lovely, Andi, and so wise of you to notice and treasure this. These moments don't come often enough even in the best of circumstances.

Margo said...

That's our girl - a sweet and joyful spirit like no other - love that you rode the rollercoaster - and enjoyed it!!!