(photo credit: Skydiving by MandaRose on flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.)
I have nothing against sky-diving.
My husband and I have talked about going together. After the kids have graduated college. Which, isn’t as far out as it once was.
Yet, when my daughter mentioned that she and her friend were planning to skydive this summer, my stomach dropped to the floor. My worst fears surfaced. What if there were an accident? What if she didn’t make it safely to the ground? The thought of something bad happening to my child paralyzed me.
But she’s 19. And while I still have some say in her decisions, this was not one that I felt I could use my parent card. Especially since I expect to skydive myself in the not so distant future.
So she and her friend planned and I listened to her as she shared the details with me.
Her friend is lovely. She spent five days with us in March and I really liked her. But, when I saw her for the first time since then, on Saturday night, seated in my dining room with my daughter, I felt my heart rate rise rapidly.
I knew the day was almost here. The plans were set. I was going to be away when she left to go north for her first ever skydive.
Last night, I sent her a text. Told her to have fun and be safe. I also told her I love her. She texted back, amused by my concern but savvy enough to tell me she loved me too. Thank god for savvy kids.
This morning, my younger daughter was about to head out for the first day of a sailing regatta and just before she left, she pulled me aside and asked if I’d talked to the older daughter about the skydive. She was also thinking about her sister and hoping that all would be well when she fell from the sky. We laughed at our anxieties and daughter #2 went off to her race.
Around 4 pm, I couldn’t take it any longer and I checked in with daughter #1. She said that the wind had been holding it up all day so they didn’t know if they’d even get to go. Two hours later, I checked in again and she said it was a bust.
“Wind sucks,” she said. Meanwhile, daughter #2, who had a good day sailing would certainly disagree.
While I admit to a part of me wishing there would be a reason for my daughter not to be able to skydive, when it actually happened, when the weather stopped her from doing the deed, I felt disappointed. I also felt relief, because I knew she was safe on the ground, but the disappointment was stronger than the relief.
It is hard to let go of your children. To allow them to live their own lives. To make their own decisions, even if their choices make you anxious.
If I’d felt as though the skydive was a bad decision, I would have told her that and encouraged her to reconsider. But, as I said before, I am okay with the concept of it.
The whole point of parenting is to give your children the skills and the confidence to live lives of joy and meaning. The whole point is to get your children to the point where they can spread their own wings . . .
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