“Are you going somewhere to be peaceful?”
These were Chica’s words as she hugged me goodbye for the third time yesterday. “Well, yes, I am,” but I hadn’t really thought of it that way. Turns out she knows what she’s talking about.
Yesterday was time for the biennial Tracy and Taylor’s Excellent Adventures. Installment one of this sibling fun was Memorial Day two years ago when we climbed Mt. Rogers, Virginia’s highest peak. That adventure included getting lost in the predawn hours, spotting a just-born wild foal and its mother, and two bear sightings, all before lunch time. I was pretty sure that this year’s trip wouldn’t leave us with such good storytelling material, but I couldn’t wait, nonetheless.
Based on a friend’s recommendation, we headed to the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. We started our morning off with a raft ride through Class II, III, and IV rapids in their manmade river. This was one of those times where I tried to force myself to see the bigger picture. “Open your eyes, soak it all in,” I told myself. Instead I spent most of the time focused on the paddle in front of me and my feet tucked firmly under the seat. I really didn’t want to have an “out of boat experience.”
Since we were already soaked, we decided to try out the stand-up paddle boarding next. Taylor and I were both surprised at just how difficult it was. If you want to get anywhere fast, paddle boarding is not the sport for you. If you try to paddle quickly, you’re going to either tip over or veer too far left or right. So unlike rafting, we took in the big picture, stopped twice for a swim, made jokes about feeling like we were floating the Amazon, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Yes, Chica, we were able to be peaceful here.
After lunch we attempted their 40 foot climbing wall. Feeling quite confident and cocky, I stepped right up to tackle climb number two, a climb the guide described as medium difficulty. I was struck right away with just how small the handholds were. Since we were using an auto belay, there was no stopping to take a break like you can do if a person is belaying you. If you let go, you’re coming down, pride and all.
Right there on the wall I thought of Chica. I get frustrated when she chooses a puzzle, game, or book too easy for her abilities. I always try to push her to the next challenge. This medium wall was definitely the next challenge for me, and I was crumbling under those feelings of “it’s too hard.” I’ll try to have a little more grace next time when she wants to sit comfortably with what she knows she can do.
Our final two adventures were the Mega Zip and Mega Jump. Possibly the most exciting part of this was watching the rafting from up above while we waited in line. We saw at least four rafts tip over, giving everyone on board a chance to practice what they had learned about the out of boat experience. “Lay back, point your feet downstream, and absolutely do not try to stand up.” Watching it happen so many times in a row actually made a tiny part of me wish it had happened to us. Spilling out of a raft in a Class IV rapid might possibly be more exciting than a bear sighting??
Though physically tiring, this day was oh-so-peaceful. I had one mouth to be responsible for instead of three. The questions I got were easy ones like, “Where are you from?” and, “Have you done this before?” There was no one to fight over naptime. Being a mom is awesome, but sometimes you need some time away to remember just how awesome it is. Spending that time away with great company makes it even better.
Oh, I almost forgot. Want to hear the joke about pizza that our raft guide told us?
Ahhhh….nevermind….it’s too cheesy.