Monday, 8 August 2011

The Gripping Mother and the Spider Monkey

A few weeks ago, we visited my mother in central California. Before this, I knew my daughter Lily was a thrill seeker and a bit of a monkey, but I didn't realize just how much. (g) She's always been a climber. From the time she could walk, she was climbing and pushing the envelope. I've always let her explore that. She seemed to have enough sense to know that certain things were beyond her abilities. And this tactic prevented me from having to chase her around the park, pulling her away from the big kid jungle gym. She just knew she couldn't do it alone.

You know, as a child, I was a bit of a daredevil, too. I jumped out of trees, off roofs, and any a number of things. I don't remember being scared of heights. That was then, this is now. Perhaps it's the knowledge of my mortality. Perhaps it's because I am so much taller now than then, and I have a longer distance to fall. Perhaps I am just turning into a chicken as I get older. (This last one is a good possibility. grin)

However, this child has very little fear. Oh, she claims to be afraid of heights, but we know the truth. She's showed us time after time she's part monkey. And then we went to visit Mom.

Visiting Mom was eye opening. You see, at Mom's, we happened upon a ropes course. Not the typical ropes course. This one requires no reliance on another person. Matter of fact, you have to trust the cable you are hooked up to, the course's stability, and the harness. Oh, yeah, and you have to trust it's not your time to die. That last one is a biggy. (g) One that was a bit hard for me to get past.

Of course, for most seven year olds, the last thing on your mind is that your death is imminent.

For the parent watching their kid skip around a ropes course about 25 feet above solid concrete, no nets, water, or anything, you are lucky to escape without heart palpitations. Seriously.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I decided I would join her on the course, certain I would be fine. I may not do some of the scarier stuff, but I certainly would do the easy stuff. No problem.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

All I had to do was climb two flights of stairs up to the first platform. Heck, I didn't even have to reach the first platform before my palms started to sweat and my heart rate accelerated. But I pushed on. What's a little battle with your survival instincts anyway? It's not like they keep you alive or anything.

I managed to get to the pole. Once there, I promptly wrapped my arms around it and clung. The platform was actually pretty. My logical brain recognized this. There is nothing logical about fear.

Juxtapose the gripping mother with the little spider monkey who has no fear. She's standing on the edge of the platform, her feet halfway off. Mom is nearly having a heart attack; she can't wait to start. She scurries across the first, and easiest, "obstacle." It's a rope bridge with wood slats and, well, ropes. It leads to a smaller platform. A platform I'm not sure I want either of us to stand on, despite the cable, harness, and the apparent sturdiness of this course.

Despite my better judgment, I cross this "bridge." Once again, she's standing on the edge of that tiny platform, her feet half off as she prepares to cross a tightrope (I kid you not--a tightrope) to the next platform.

I am hyperventilating as she begins the harrowing journey. She is holding the employee's hands as the rope above the tightrope is too high for her to reach. It's slow going, and I am slowly turning into a puddle of nerves. Okay, it wasn't a slow process at all. I don't think I breathed until she reached the next platform. From there, she had to traverse ropes sideways to return to the original "large" platform. (Large is relative at this point.)

As she traverses the next ropes, I am trying to pump myself up to pry my fingers off the pole and cross that rope bridge again.

Yes, I am pathetic. (g) Part of me, at this point, is laughing at just how pathetic I am. The other part has a firm grip on my psyche and body. I walk across the rope bridge again. A little less afraid this time, but my blood pressure has still skyrocketed.

The spider monkey, on the other hand, has decided she wants to do the entire ropes course, and she's going to start with the next challenge: two parallel 2"x4" slats of wood bolted to some metal pipes. They are connected to the platforms with a rope. The slats are about 18"-2' apart. According to the employee, most chose to walk only on one.

She carefully walked across and proceeded to do the rest of the ropes course while I gripped.

And gripped.

And gripped some more.

I wanted to cross those slats, but I just couldn't seem to do it.

Charlie, my husband, ever the helpful person said: Just pretend you are on the ground walking on a curb.

Later, he told me he meant this to help, that he wasn't being sarcastic. Okay. That's not how I took it, but whatever. (g)

A half hour later, and several close massive coronaries, I had talked myself across these parallel slats. The problem was that there was only one way back that I would even consider. The other put me farther out into the terrifying ropes course that just waited for me to slip.

Yes. Yes. I know. I was attached with a cable, but I must remind you the logical side of my brain was not functioning. I was having to push back my survival instincts to move beyond gripping the pole. The pole had become my friend. It was comforting. (g)

On the fourth cross, Charlie videotaped me. When my mother watched it, she said, "Why are you walking so slowly?"

Really? Pfft to you, Mom. (g)

Eventually, my fear started to infect Lily, so I had no choice but to push through it. I didn't venture onto any of the actual ropes. Everything I crossed included wood of some sort. It still scared the crap out of me, but I did it. And once Lily saw me push through that fear, she returned to spider monkey again.

We spent about an hour and half on the course. The vast majority of that time, I gripped one of the poles.

This past weekend, we were at a local REI store. They happened to have a rock climbing wall. It reached all the way up into the rafters above the second floor.

Guess who wanted to do it?

Yup. Lily. And she did. It took a bit. She's never done anything like this before, but she did fantastic. She wants to do it again.

I don't know if I'll survive it. LOL

Unfortunately, I can't get the raw video of me on the ropes course to upload properly. I will try again later when Charlie, the computer guru, is awake.

15 comments:

Faith said...

ROFLMAO! We chickens have to flock together!

I'm the same about heights. It's not the height that scares me. It's the sudden stop at the bottom. And I am not a thrill seeker. That "thrill" feeling whether an amusement ride, speeding car, etc., makes me want to hurl.

Anthology Authors said...

We do, Faith. We do. We went to IKEA Sunday to pick up something to help Lily contain her toys. IKEA, which is a large, reasonably priced furniture store (some of it's reasonably priced, anyway). To even get into the store, you have to go up two flights of stairs. The stairwells are open and you can see out over the land. That had me going too. LOL

Sharon Sullivan-Craver said...

ROFLMAO..I love your blog. And girl--I'm not laughing at you I am laughing at the situation. been there and done that. I agree that as the older i get the more I try to rationlize 'why not to do it". thank you for the blog. Glad i am not alone.

Anthology Authors said...

You could laugh at me, Sharon. (g) when it was all over, I was laughing at me. (g) It was very funny. the entire family cracked up as I recounted the adventure. LOL

Kate Richards said...

OMG Marci! Edges, I'm completely terrified of them, but I admire that you were such an amazing mom and managed that course as much as you did.
Yet, I can sit on my back windowsill, three stories up, and lean out to wash the window...I have no idea why that's not scary.

Anthology Authors said...

Maybe it's edges and not heights, Kate. Um, I don't know. When I'm up there, I can't think straight. LOL It's just white noise in my mind. LOL

Kate Richards said...

Dunno, but I recognize every one of the symptoms. Maybe it's grown-up-itis, sigh.

Word Nerd said...

I was brave before I was a mother, when I quickly turned into a neurotic chicken-shit. Now I get oogey on escalators.

Anthology Authors said...

You are most likely right, Kate. I have noticed that the roller coaster leans toward scary instead of exciting as it did when I was a kid. LOL I still go on them. I scream and laugh and laugh and laugh like a loon because I don't want Lily to be scared (She loves them.), and if I do laugh, I might just crap my pants. LOL

Anthology Authors said...

Well, you know, Word Nerd, my stomach is not what it used to be since becoming a mother. I seriously get more queasy now than I did prior to her birth. Queasy on rides, etc. I don't know what happened. Perhaps it's nature's way of ensuring that the parents survive to raise the kids. If we stayed like kids, we'd probably be dead by 30, which may not be a bad thing depending on who you talk to. (g)

Janice said...

Oh, gosh. I would be holding onto a pole too. I'm terrible afraid of heights too.

Janice~

Anthology Authors said...

Janice,

It would appear that many of us are afraid of heights. (g) It's nice to know I'm not alone. LOL

Marci

Robyn M Speed said...

We were on Penang island...husband decided we would all do the 'tree top walk'. For some reason the words 'tree top' did not register in my mind until we reached said trees. Had brain no been so bloody utterly deceitful I would have screeched a "HELL NO!" as soon as said 'tree top'.

Our children were 9 and 11 and I didn't want them up there at all, and certainly not without me to save them should anything happen! (I am pretty sure I have a superhero complex!)

Dang, I gripped those ropes along the swing bridge things so tight!!! At the end of if all I looked at my husband (scowled....look of death!) and said 'you know I am terrified of heights, right?'

It's not the falling, it's the landing that scares me!!

Robyn M Speed said...

We were on Penang island...husband decided we would all do the 'tree top walk'. For some reason the words 'tree top' did not register in my mind until we reached said trees. Had brain no been so bloody utterly deceitful I would have screeched a "HELL NO!" as soon as said 'tree top'.

Our children were 9 and 11 and I didn't want them up there at all, and certainly not without me to save them should anything happen! (I'm pretty sure I have a superhero complex!)

Dang, I gripped those ropes along the swing bridge things so tight!!! At the end of if all I looked at my husband (scowled....look of death!) and said 'you know I am terrified of heights, right?'

It's not the falling, it's the landing that scares me!!

Anthology Authors said...

Robyn,

Charlie would have been sleeping in the doghouse for that one. I so would not have been okay with it. LOL

Marci