The idea of flying for even a few seconds before my parachute opens up and takes me safely to the ground seems not only exciting but romantic.
I imagine the world out in front of me. Feeling the air on my face, my heart beating wildly as adrenaline pumps through my veins.
A part of me yearns for the exhilarating feeling of being one with the sky.
As much as I may read about skydiving, and love to hear stories from people who have done it, I will never really know what it's like till I try it myself.
There are just some things you have to experience for yourself.
Parenting tops the list.
I thought of this as I was driving our youngest Peter, 7, to his first play date without me.
Seven might seem a tad old for this milestone, especially since he is my youngest and I've been through this before.
But, Peter's speech delay and some of his more eccentric behaviors made waiting till he was ready a must. Though not officially on the autism spectrum, he does have his share of sensory issues that make life interesting.
The years of hard work Peter has done in speech, physical and occupational therapy are really starting to pay off. He is learning to deal with the world on the world's terms and has been having a great year in school.
That didn't stop me from having a mini anxiety attack.
All of a sudden I think of something that should have occurred to me before.What if they have a dog? Peter has a very big fear of dogs. He gets upset at even the mere mention of the word dog.
Now I'm beating myself up. Why didn't I check on this before? I could have prepared him.
I pull into the driveway, and Peter's friend runs out to us.
Peter is very happy and out we go, leaving Tom and Lizzy in the van as we walk up to the house.
Then Peter stops short of the front door.
"I'm not going in. I want to go home." He says this very matter of factly. No crying.
"Peter, your friend is so happy you are here, let's go."
"They have a dog."
"How do you know they have a dog?"
I notice a garden statue of a dog on their lawn.
With that, Jane, the boy's mother, comes out on her porch and greets us with a warm smile.
"Hi, by the way do you have a dog?" I say this very calmly with a big smile on my face.
"Yes, we do, we have two. Do you want to see them?" Jane said this very excitedly like this was a big selling point.
"I"m not going in," says a very adamant Peter.
Memories of dealing with my first child, now 13, flood back to me. All the times I had to talk a younger Tom "off the ledge" whenever a Josh Groban song came on the radio when we were at a restaurant or store.
My daughter Lizzy's special needs are so significant, the boys' sensory issues pale in comparison. But they do keep me on my toes.
Now, I'm no push-over. I've been dealing with eccentric behaviors for 13 years. But I also know that if I don't handle this carefully, there are bigger implications. I want Peter to know he can handle the big world on his own, and I don't want him to be embarrassed in front of his friend.
I say softly, as sweet as I can, "Move your tail, you will be fine, we will deal with this."
Jane, noticing that dogs may not be such a welcome thing, promises to put the dogs outside.
Peter looks at me and realizes this is one of those situations where he is going to have to just go through with it.
We walk in and once Peter realizes the dogs are in fact outside he starts running around with his friend. Jane and I decide all looks good, so I say I'll be back in about an hour and out I go.
I get in my minivan and I can feel my heart and the familiar feeling of anxiety come upon me. I thought I was hiding it pretty well until Tom turns to me.
"Mom, why are you freaking out? This isn't your first kid."
"I know," I said, laughing that he could read my mind.
"Mom, Peter is going to be fine. You were never this nervous when I went on a play date."
I looked at him for a moment. "Are you nuts? Of course I was."
"Why were you nervous?"
Tom has learned to deal with his sensory issues to the point that nobody would ever know he ever had them. But it wasn't always the case.
"Tom, have we forgotten all the little things that use to freak you out, like opera?"
"Oh, yeah. I forgot."
"Well, a mom never forgets."
"Well, I'm not worried about Peter. I used to worry about him and Lizzy all the time, but not anymore."
It's true too, he does worry about them. It doesn't seem to matter that I have never lost a kid in my life. His father and I are always reminding him that we are the parents and he does not need to worry about his siblings.
"Well, honey that's great. But you are his brother. I'm the mom. I'm responsible for all three of you. I love you all so much and want to make sure you are all safe and happy."
"Wow, that's a lot of responsibility... I don't think I will ever have kids."
We both start laughing.
About an hour later we pick up a very happy Peter. He feels very good about himself. The mom reports that all went well.
I get back in my minivan. A feeling of relief washes over me, the endorphins kick in as I realize that Peter has accomplished this big task. He has a huge smile on his face. He is very proud of himself.
I take a deep breath, feeling pretty darn happy myself.
Maybe I will try skydiving next.