For my upcoming 45th birthday, I approached my family and told them I would like to skydive. My husband thinks I am crazy. My oldest agrees with his father. My youngest, however, had only this to say: “You can’t.” I am a determined person by nature and when someone tells me I can’t do something it’s tantamount to waving a red flag in front of an already angry bull. Can’t. Ha! Since when does someone 4 feet tall get to tell me what I can and cannot do? Did Willy Wonka take orders from the Oompa Loompas? I think not. In an act of defiance, I started doing research on the best place to skydive from in the area and quickly found one I felt confident about. This morning I approached my youngest again about my intention to exit a perfectly good airplane on purpose. I was hoping to win him over with information about safety ratings.
“Luke, I would like to skydive for my birthday,” I told him again.
“You can’t,” he replied quite matter of factly.
“Actually, I can. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” I replied, hopefully appealing to his inner sense of fairness.
“You can’t,” he simply repeated.
“I can’t this year or I can’t ever?” I questioned.
“You just can’t.”
“When can I?” I queried.
“When I am dead,” came his answer.
“When you are dead?” I laughed. “So that means not in my lifetime, right?
“Okay. If you’re not giving me permission to do this, at least you can tell me why.”
“I am trying to keep you safe.”
I don’t know why, but hearing that my almost 10 year old son is too worried about me to feel he can tolerate watching me take off in an airplane, reach 12,500 feet, and then fall towards earth at 115 miles per hour made me feel good. It made me feel better than the much needed spa gift certificate I received for Mother’s Day did. Although I am with them day in and day out, I have never before heard such a blatant acknowledgment of my importance to him. I mean, you always kind of just know they love you (it would be a big demotivator to parenting without this type of blind faith) but you don’t often get verbal affirmation of your importance to your little people. As much as it upsets me that I won’t be able to do a jump for my birthday as I had hoped, I can’t see how I would get much satisfaction out of it knowing I’d left my youngest on the ground terrified that he was about to witness my certain death. That would suck the fun right out of it, I think.
Am I giving up my dream of skydiving? Absolutely not. I think I’ll just wait until my 50th birthday. By that time my now reluctant youngest son will be a teenager excited about getting his learner’s permit. After I tell him that he can get it when I’m dead, he might just be willing to push me out of that airplane himself.