Raising a family is scary! Not for all of the obvious reasons either, you know the ones that cause you to wake up in a sweaty panic in the middle of the night, or pause with heart racing anticipation in the middle of a seemingly normal day. Holding your own breath to listen if your baby is still breathing, wondering why your daughter is so late getting home, holding a sick child in a hospital ER, opening the door to find a police officer on your front porch. These are the frightening moments we wonder and worry about as we sit there softly stroking swollen bellies filled with all the anticipation of impending motherhood.
I’m not talking about these moments at all. What I’m talking about are the times when you simply have to put on your big girl panties so you are not holding your family back.
Have I mentioned I’m scared of heights?
I possess in me the most irrational fear of heights, and bridges over water are just about my undoing.
So of course it would make perfect sense that our vacation plans for the summer would involve a visit to Silverwood Theme Park and a 15 mile bike ride on the Route of the Hiawatha. These two locations of choice are seemingly innocuous when written down, but the very thought of them have caused me heart palpitations for the months and weeks leading up to our vacation. For you see I was fully aware of the offhanded promises and comments I made to my family while planning this trip.
First of all I had promised last year that if we ever made it back to Silverwood I WOULD ride The Aftershock with them. Let me be brutally clear here. The Aftershock drops you more than 177 ft (54 m) not once, not twice, but THREE times AND you reach speeds of more than 65 mph (104 km/h). SERIOUSLY!
With my heart in the back of my throat I made true to my promise. I will not go into the gory details of it all, but suffice it to say that the rest of the patrons of the ride only had to endure my screams on the first drop, because after that I was rendered incapable of any sound as I hyperventilated and desperately tried to pull myself into the fetal position! Upon disembarking from the ride, I broke out in a cold sweat, swallowed back the bile that rose in the back of my throat and fought off the stars and darkness that were threatening to envelop my poor frightened soul. I didn’t dare sit down, as much as I desperately wanted to, because I was worried I would simply pass out on the concrete. Luckily my daughters wanted to go on the godforsaken ride again, so it bought me a few minute to regain my composure before we continued on with our day.
Riding The Aftershock scared the crap out of me, but I did it. Not because I had to, my family would have understood if I had backed out. They would have been disappointed, but they would have understood. I did it because I had made a promise and a promise is a promise. Sometimes you just have to prove that you can be bigger than your fears. In fact I was feeling so proud of myself, I even agreed to go on the Ferris Wheel later in the afternoon. Although I believe I may have threaten my youngest daughter with her life if she rocked the seat!
The second location of sweaty palms and a racing heart involved the Route of the Hiawatha. This stunning bike trail though the Bitterroot Mountains involves 9 tunnels, one over a mile long, and 7 trestle bridges.
The tunnels were never the problem, it was those dang trestle bridges. The longest of those stinkin’ bridges was more than 850 ft (258 m) long and more than 250 ft (76 m) high! Once again, SERIOUSLY!!!!
I loved how as you traversed the upper pathway you could view the various trestle bridges looming in the distance. There is nothing better than the anticipation of complete utter terror. Once again, I put on my big girl panties, sucked it up and I will admit, thoroughly enjoyed my day. Aside from a few heart stopping moments as my family decided we should stop for photos ON the trestle bridges, that is.
Yes, raising a family is a scary thing. But it is also rewarding beyond measure and I wouldn’t have it any other way… bridges, amusement park rides and all.