I hope to never forget the sunlight in my daughter’s eyes today when she said, “Great job, Mommy!” We had just ridden the roller coaster at Sesame Place after a day full of rides and fun. What made this ride so special was that mommy was sitting next to her, riding with her. A few weeks ago we went with friends but I begged off the roller coaster under the pretense that I was afraid I’d get sick on the ride.
My little white lie to my daughter was based in fact. I had gotten sick in high school on the Round Up at a local carnival and the Tea Cups at Disney World. Slightly embarrassing, but not the reason I’ve avoided rides like the plague. I used to love rides. My buddy and I would ride them all day long when we were kids at carnivals like the June Fete.
My entry into the amusement park club came to a screeching halt one day at Great Adventure when, after waiting in a very long line, I couldn’t fit into the Batman ride. That embarrassing moment stayed with me long enough to keep me from rides for many years. This year my daughter is old enough to begin her legacy of really experiencing amusement rides, but she needs a companion. In the past, I’ve pawned that responsibility off on anyone I could.
Today my friend kindly filled in for me today as I once again dodged my co-riding responsibilities. Her two-year old daughter, however, wanted no part of sharing her mom. I sized up the other riders and saw a few of comparable size successfully getting on the ride, so I ushered my little one into the waiting car before she knew what was happening. At first she was confused, then excited and finally scared that I would throw up on her during the ride.
Her excitement won out. I told her that she’d have to help me not be so scared since she’d been on this ride a bunch of times. The ride was a bit scary for me. Hey. I’m out of practice. The pot of gold at the end the ride was the look on my baby’s face. She hugged me tightly and peppered me with a string of glowing compliments, “Great job, Mommy! I’m so proud of you! You are the best mommy in the whole world! I love you!”
Today I was a hero. It might not seem like much, but to her it was the world. I can’t fit into most of the rides at Sesame Place, but today was great motivation to keep moving forward on my journey to health and wellness. I want to be there for my daughter – for the roller coaster rides, the graduations, the first kiss, the wedding, whatever’s coming down the pike.