Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Eighteen and Falling

About six months before the day and feeling very proud of myself for thinking ahead, I asked Jack what he wanted to do for his 18th birthday. 

"Go skydiving."

Now he had been saying that since he was fourteen but up until now it hadn't been an issue because you have to be 18 years old to go skydiving.  But this year, well...he was going to be 18.


It was still a long way off until his birthday in August so I put it out of my mind thinking he's likely to forget.

Come Summer, we realize our whole family is going to be at the beach for his birthday.  

So I re-ask the question, making some suggestions of activities that all the kids could do...I mean, he and my oldest niece are the only two old enough to skydive... 

"Hey Jack, what do you want to do for your birthday?  Do you want to parasail, rent jet skies, what?  Want to do something with all your cousins?"

"I want to skydive."  Oh boy.  He hadn't given that up.

So I did some research.  


That's good but there's always a first time right?  

So I watched a ton of their videos and read the online reviews.  I liked how much they shared online and that transparency made me feel more confident.  

I made the reservation.

For both of us.  

Hey, I was there when he was born so if he was going to leave this earth on his 18th birthday, I was going with him.  

Poor Jim.  

He was not about to jump out of a perfectly good airplane but he had the harder job of watching the two people he loves most in the world hurtle toward the earth.

My oldest niece decided to jump as well.  We spent at least a half hour watching videos and reading disclaimers of the many different ways that people and equipment could fail leading to death, dismemberment and/or paralysis.


Jack signed without hesitation.    My niece and I read every word and decided to go anyway despite the fact that we were surely going to die.

Unfortunately for my niece, she had to go first with some dude she didn't know.  She was very brave...



and she lived!! She was up and back before we had even left the ground.



She loved it!  And said that the scariest part of the whole thing was being told all the different ways that she could die. 

One down, two to go.

Now it was our turn.


We kissed goodbye to our precious family...






And headed across the tarmac to board the plane.

The two men that were jumping with us were awesome.  

Jack had Top Gun (his name is Josh)...


And I had Ponytail Dude (Daniel).  

I couldn't be happier since I felt like I knew both of these guys from watching all their videos. They always looked like they were having so much fun (you'll see what I mean in the videos) and Daniel's ponytail was always flying straight upward hence my nickname for him...


I was a little worried about Jack because he was so tall and a bit bigger than Top Gun...he had to duck his head...


And fold himself into the airplane...


Only so he could unfold himself when we got to 10,000 feet and it was time to jump.  


One minute he was there...



And the next minute he was gone...


I haven't seen him smile that big in years. Check it out.  He smiles the whole way.



Once his parachute opened, Top Gun pointed to a black dot in the sky...

"See that dot there, Jack?" 


"That's your Mom."


Meanwhile, I had expected to have any number of scenarios...feeling like I was going to throw up, body quaking from fear, etc.

What I didn't expect was the pure rush of adrenaline and unbridled joy.  

It was indescribable really.  I was awe-struck, experiencing intense wonder and amazement at rapid-fire speed. 


If I had died in that moment, it would have been beautiful. 

I've never experienced anything like it.  



I had expected to be scared witless, counting every second until the chute opened.  

Nothing was further from the truth.  

When the chute finally did open, I was a bit disappointed because the intense exhilaration ended and the experience shifted.  

The parachute-assisted ride to earth was like a lazy, afternoon stroll in comparison to the free-fall, belly-diving "trip" before.  


After landing safely, it was a lot to take in.

And my strong, silent Jack was back...


Right beside his non-silent Mom.

What a birthday.  

Almost as good as the one eighteen years ago.  

Almost...

25 comments:

Magpie's Mumblings said...

You are a brave, brave woman!! Both for being okay with your son doing this, but doing it too! There is no way on this earth that I would ever do that.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What an exciting birthday! I loved seeing Jack, but seeing you had the tears streaming down my cheeks. The joy, the bravery just wonderful!

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Estella Star of the East said...

You are one cool lady! :))

margaret said...

wow Susan how brave were you, I can see you both throughly enjoyed your experience and now have a video to watch which I am sure you will both watch again ans again and again. What happened to the glasses they seemed to disappear part way through the video. I always wondered how the landing was done but presume those yellow bands you were steering with, what on earth Mrs Rose will say about this I cannot imagine.

Rachel said...

What an adventure! Congratulations to all three of you!

gracie said...

What a great day for you both. Thanks for taking me along....

deb* said...

awesome to the nth degree!

Janet said...

I am so in awe of you. That was wonderful, what an experience.

Cath said...

Wow! Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Shirlee Fassell said...

Wow! You are going to have to immortalize this in embroidery!

Margaret said...

Whoa! I'm glad all my son wanted at 18 was a tattoo...Looks like you all had a wild and glorious ride!

sudukc said...

What a fun day! You are a braver woman than I...hot air balloon rides more my speed. Happy Birthday Jack, and congrats Susan...what a great birthday!

Sheila Iskin said...

Congrats to Jack! And to you too for being so brave. What a priceless experience. :) And Jim. It must have been terrifying to watch...

You all "felt the shark's breath"...

And your niece has an awesome T-shirt! That's the best Harry Potter one I've seen yet. :)

Mary Ann said...

Fabulous....you are one brave lady :)

Sheila Iskin said...

Forgot to add that this rivals that slingshot ride in a bubble that you two took a few years ago! :) I still laugh when people occasionally mention going on that ride.

Lisa Boni said...

You (and Jack and your niece!) are amazing!

Mouse said...

ohhh simply fabulous :) well done to all of you ... sooo when are going back up again ...lol love mouse xxxxxx

Reconstructed Fabulousness said...

Woah Susan, you are beyond brave and what a cool Mum!

Barbara C said...

Susan, you win the brave mom of the year award. I'm glad the experience was better than you expected.

FLOWER FRIEND said...

Speechless and totally in awe. Rock on Susan.

Laurie said...

WOW WOW WOW WOW!!!! I can't get over it! I smiled all the way through the tape! The only part that freaked me a little while watching was all your feet dangling out of that plane, was glad to see you finally jump. What an awesome birthday for your son, and that you went with him made it even more special I'm sure. You're one brave mama!1

coral-seas said...

Oh my gosh! I don't know which is the braver thing to do, pay for your son to jump out of an airoplane or to jump out of an airoplane yourself. The closest I have come to this was paragliding and I only did that because you can only take off if the parachute is inflated! I always thought you are an amazing mom, you did not have to jump out of a plane to prove it :-)

Createology said...

OMG where have I been to have missed this post. Congratulations on being a very brave and adventurous woman. Your exhilaration is as beautiful as you are dear. Creative Parachuting Bliss...

Bekah said...

Oh my - you're a braver woman than I am! Looks like a fabulous way to create a memorable birthday though!

Judy S. said...

Kudos to you, Susan! You and Jack now share a wonderful life memory. Bravo!

Related Posts with Thumbnails