Monday, June 13, 2016

The Ropes Course

This is what happens when I let my husband plan family outings.
One day while driving somewhere (we’re the parents of two teens with lots of local family—we’re always driving somewhere), we passed some people flying through the trees. Since this isn’t an ordinary sight, we paused, and realized they were swinging through a ropes course.
“That looks fun,” my husband said.
I agreed, which means I’d either not had enough sleep, was agreeing with him at the time so I could soften him up to argue with him later, or just wasn’t paying attention.
He decided it would be a great Father’s Day activity. Well, our Father’s Days are spent with both sets of grandparents, so clearly, this was not something we were going to do on any actual Father’s Day. We’d make plans to do it on a weekend close to the holiday, but due to school schedules, camp preparation and other life craziness, we never found time to get to it.
This year, he put it on the calendar. As soon as I heard my daughter’s exam schedules and departure days for sleep away camp, and realized we’ve done no preparation at all for packing, labeling or anything else, I gave him the look—the look that says, “I don’t want to tell you we’re not going to do something, but we’re not doing something.”
And he gave me his disappointed look. So I caved and suggested we go yesterday. Hey, I was being spontaneous, something that hasn’t happened since approximately 1998.
Oldest child flat out refused to go with us. She’d already been with youth group and claimed to have barely survived. She’s a little dramatic, so we ignored her warnings and told her to start packing.
I should have listened to oldest.
I thought I was being prepared by bringing bug spray. I mean, we’re in trees, there’s bugs, what else could I possibly need?
People tell you to conquer your fear. They tell you to not show that fear to your children. They tell you not to give up. My husband says, “You’ll be proud of yourself when you finish.”
In the future, I’m not listening to “people.” As for my husband, well, the jury’s still out on that one.
Because it was most definitely the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I thought my biggest problem would be a fear of heights. No, my biggest problem was fear of landing. Because even though I was attached to a harness, it didn’t matter whether I was close to the ground or really, really high off the ground. As I tipped and shook and got blown by the wind and cursed my way across the different challenges, my biggest fear was that if this stupid harness breaks and I land on the ground, it is really, really going to hurt.

I made it through Course #1, barely. When I saw the guide, I asked him if Course #2 was the same skill level and I should have taken more seriously the way he avoided my question. Course #2 almost killed me. There was even less to hold onto, the wind was blowing harder, and I got stuck 1/3 of the way through. A random mom on the kiddie course below me tried to shout encouragement to me. Sweet really, but I’d have preferred her to give me a ladder. Eventually, I made it to the zip line—I could have just done that and been perfectly happy. 
In the past, I’ve complained that I’m always the one who has to plan things. It’s annoying and stressful and not always fun. But it’s not life threatening. In the future, I’m going to happily accept the annoyance, the stress and the lack of fun. And if my older one refuses to do something, I may just decide to listen to her.


  1. I love this post. As the mother of two boys our treks are usually involve adventure. Glad you made it through the courses safely.

    1. I made it through. I'm not sure I'd say "safely." And my body is still killing me. But I did think of you--you all should try it!