Our legs dangled over the park-goers below, the flashing lights on the rides illuminating the summer night sky. We sat in a cable car, with just a bar securing us, nothing underneath our feet. Alex, my almost 7 year old son, said, "I'm just going to sit perfectly still." I could barely respond, willing myself to breathe deeply and avoid the panic I felt washing over me.
I used to be so adventurous.
My dad always tells the story of how I went on Lightning Loops with him at Great Adventure. I was my son's age- six- when I went on the rollercoaster that went upside down and backwards, super fast. I wore braids at the time and my mom remembers seeing my braids up in the air as we zoomed through the ride. My memory of the ride was it was very fast and frightening, but I was with my dad and so I was safe.
Hershey Park was our last hurrah of the summer. Back to work for me this Friday and school starting for all of us. The lazy days of hanging out and being with each other all day will give way to bustling fall mornings, rushing out the door, teaching all day, then driving to after school activities. Less time to just be. Less time to enjoy each other without all the interruptions and distractions.
So while I was, to put it mildly- petrified- on the Skyview ride, it was a memory I will cherish, because I was with my buddy, laughing together about how scared we were, imagining the crocodiles in the lake below us, cheering when the ride came to an end.
For so long, I never imagined my children wouldn't be little, wouldn't need me all the time. Now, as my son nears seven, I see how quickly it goes, how I'll blink and he'll be 14, open my eyes again and he'll be 21. (I feel like weeping typing that line). Suddenly, I know these vacations are precious moments and memories. Even the scary ride ones. Especially the scary ride ones.
All too soon, the ride will be over. But this summer, he let me hold his hand and we laughed our fears away, legs dangling over the park-goers below.