Parent-ish: Risky Business
I’m not much of a thrill seeker — not in the way of someone who loves sitting in a metal car that circles on tracks upside down at high speeds. I’ve ridden my share of roller coasters, tilt-a-whirls, and ferris wheels, but that was mostly in my past.
As a kid, I swam in lakes and waded in streams to catch tadpoles, probably not far from a nice Arkansas water moccasin or two. I rode bikes all afternoon with friends until my legs ached, returning home at dusk, sweaty and grimy.
At some point, we think we are grown-up. We are not inclined to strip the bark off a dead limb and make it a magic wand, or Rey’s staff or a Ninja warrior’s weapon. We are not inclined to thrust our homemade sword toward someone and exclaim, “En garde!”
Then I had four children.
Having my four boys allowed me to participate in childish pursuits I hadn’t tried in years. Suddenly, I was more than willing to play again in (ahem) middle age.
For a recent spring break we went to our cabin in the Ozark Mountains. We took two of our boys’ school friends. We had a list of planned options, as well as free play.
One day, we went to a nearby zip lining facility. Almost all of us decided to try one or more activities, including a free fall, a wall climb or a zip line.
As I stood on the platform to take my turn at the free fall, I watched several of my children jump off the edge, so that I lost sight of them. Surprising myself, I felt nervous. When the employee clipped my carabiner to the line headed down, I considered changing my mind. I couldn’t see beneath me. I would have to leap. For a brief second, as I left the safety from above, I had no idea where I was going, or what was next. Then, I soared down, squealed with fear and delight, and fell gently on my rear-end. It was over too soon.
Unfortunately, later that day, one of our young friends cut open her forehead by a zip line careening backward too quickly. After some worry, tears, cleaning and a bandage, I assumed this child would want us to have her parents come pick her up that day, rather than wait until their planned arrival two days later.
Instead, this tiny girl, said, “No. I want to go horseback riding now.”
I said to myself, “Uh, yeah. Yeah, I sure do.”
Betsy Singleton Snyder is a pastor, writer and blogger. She is the author of “Stepping on Cheerios: Finding God in the Chaos and Clutter of Life,” and blogs at WomenadeStand.com, a sassy and spiritual spot to dish on the tartest and sweetest pieces of life, stand up together, and reach out in love.
Betsy and her husband, Dr. Vic Snyder, who formerly served in the U.S. House of Representatives, live in Little Rock with their four sons.