Joshua and I went on Christmas vacation with my family this year. Our destination: Fort Meyers Beach, FL. The trip was a delightful escape from bitter cold winter weather. I got to enjoy Belgium waffles with syrup and whipped cream, eggs, and pineapple every morning. Ready-made breakfast for a pregnant lady is bliss! Then, after overeating at breakfast, Joshua and I would walk it off on the beach – going up and down the shore finding treasures along the way. The rest of our days were filled with either soaking up the sun or going on adventures… like parasailing.
Parasailing made my favorites list from this trip. The day after Josh traveled home for a gig we all ventured out into the gulf to do some parasailing. I was a little creeped out when I had to sign a waiver stating I wouldn’t sue if my toe was bitten off by a shark. We took a smallish, boat-like shuttle out to the parasailing boat and all the way out there my brother asked question after question about sharks. So are there sharks in this water? What kinds of sharks are there? Are any of them a threat? The answers were yes, a good handful of breeds I can’t remember the names of, and all but the hammerheads were a potential danger.
I went up with my mom after my dad and brother had their turn. No fear. This taught me a little something about myself and I have decided there are two kinds of people. Ok, maybe three.
- The type that don’t like falling from the sky.
- The type that don’t like ascending into the sky.
- The type that don’t like anything to do with being in the sky.
On parasailing day I learned I am Type 1.
I studied abroad in Africa for five months. On my trip I bungee jumped over the Nile. I hadn’t planned on it but when we arrived at the bungee jump location it occurred to me that if I was ever going to bungee jump this would be the place: one, I was there; two, it doesn’t get much cooler than bungee jumping over the Nile River. Truth be told, I was scared to death! I mean, really, I just chose to bungee jump over the Nile River in Africa. Who knows what sort of safety regulations they adhere to?
Time raced by and suddenly it was my turn to take the leap. Some guy strapped me in and told me one guideline that mostly sounded like it came to my ears through a long distance tunnel: jump out but not like you’re diving unless you want to dunk. Then he counted to three. I remained firmly planted on the platform. He tried again. At “three” I still didn’t budge. I think he kept trying the countdown but I tuned him out in an effort to calm myself or talk myself into getting into the air. Finally, I simply told myself, “you’re here, all strapped in… you have to jump… you’ll probably be fine.” Somehow my semi convinced brain forced my legs to propel me off the platform and into the abyss. I did my best jump-out-but-not-dive I could and prayed for the best.
The moment my feet left the platform I entered a surreal world of total peace. I was flying through the air. Suddenly I became aware of voices hooping and calling my name. I looked all around but it took me a while to realize I had to look past my feet to find “up” and the voices cheering me on. I loved the bungee ride after my initial leap of terror but, truthfully, that was the scariest thing I’ve ever done.
My parasailing ride was a breeze. To think about it realistically I went 440 feet into the air with nothing but fabric keeping me afloat. I can’t remember how high my bungee jump trip was, but I don’t think it was 440 feet high. However, I remained in a complete state of bliss before, during, and after my parasailing trip. Why? Because I am the type that doesn’t like falling from the sky not the type that doesn’t like ascending into the sky.
It is when we came down that I realized these “types.” The four of us excitedly jabbered about our experiences together and I learned all too quickly that my brother (a well versed sky diver) and my dad (a hearty adventure-seeker) were terrified in the air. Apparently they do much better with falling from the sky rather than floating around high up in the sky for a while. My mom (your average “I want to keep two feet planted on the ground at all times” type) only complained about the uncomfortable nature of the harness straps. We were the champs in this scenario and we were beyond surprised. However, my mom was a riot as we ascended into the air, her two yelps of fear were laced with surprised terror.
What I loved so much about our parasailing trip was sharing such a peaceful and beautiful moment with my unborn baby. With the air gently blowing over my body and the quiet of being far enough up to lose all sound waves was pure joy to my soul. Add that bliss to looking around at the expanse of ocean water and beach city all around us and I was in my own earthly heaven. I love that, while I’m pregnant, I can take my baby on cool adventures like this. It’s not like you can casually take an infant up parasailing after all. Hopefully, I’ll have a few more adventures with this little peanut before birthing day comes!