Which, by the way, was insanely cold.
Perhaps this explains my behavior. Or maybe it was a backseat conversation I overheard on our last day. We lured our progeny off the mountain with promises of an extra special, once in a lifetime stop along the way home, and packed up and left.
Conversation went something like this:
"But what do we do with our bags and hats and stuff when we're on the roller coaster?"
"Why do you think Mom's coming? She holds all the stuff."
"Why can't she ride it?"
"She's too old. She'd like–have a heart attack or a seizure or something."
You see the stuff they spout when they think I'm not listening.
So we get to the theme park (two hours early, might I add) and we sit there in the drizzle and I thank God for the clouds because I have been dreading this day ever since the school came out with the award program almost eight months ago wherein every child who completed their reading log for the year could earn a free ticket to Silverwood theme park.
My children love to read and Silverwood is on the way home from the cabin. I had plenty of time to imagine painful scenarios involving scorching heat, heavy bags, and $6 bottles of water.
Having staked out an early spot in line (because once you're packed up and the destination is Silverwood, really, can you convince them to delay?) we were one of the first families into the park. Logic dictates that to avoid the lines you go to the big attractions first. Like, say, Timber Terror, or the Aftershock
rollercoaster they shipped in from Six Flags a year or so ago.
You have to understand that I don't do rides. I don't even do playground swings. When I spin around too quickly to serve a plate of scrambled eggs I get lightheaded. If we never go to Disney Land, I will die happy. When carnival rides are unavoidable, I am the designated driver. And/or pack mule.
My six-year-old, however, was all set to ride Timber Terror. The older kids weren't up for it, but he was. No lines, and no way was I sending him on his own, and then there was the questionable effects the mountain water might have had on my thought process, but in any case we buckle ourselves into the seats (how bad can it be? You only have to be 42" tall to ride), and listen as we are promised speeds up to 70 miles an hour depending on weather conditions, and off we go, clicking up the wooden trestle, only to then plummet and rise again and slam this way and that and float out of our seats and on and on and then approximately two minutes later it was all over. We survived. My head hurt minimally.
He didn't open his eyes once and he didn't want to do it again, but he has something to tell the other little braggarts about, right?
So off we go to the next monstrosity. Dad doesn't really do coasters either, understand, so how we both ended up on Aftershock while the children cowered 191 feet below, I'm not sure. It's a bit of a blur, really. Upside down, sideways, and all of it several times and when it's all over it starts again, only you go backwards.
I actually prayed, standing there in line, not only for survival but to retain full mental acuity following the ride.
I really, really, really did not want to do this.
It was like standing on the river bank trying to convince my self that having given birth six times, jumping into the river all at one go shouldn't be so hard. Actually, in two weeks I never did manage that feat–I worked my way in every time, acclimating my skin inch by inch, bones joint by joint, until finally I was up to my chin and that finally dip under always sent shards of cold through my eardrums. My children mocked me. Demonstrated the canon ball and came up shrieking and shivering and blue around the mouth, but swearing the water was fine.
But I got on the coaster. Sounds so smooth and slow, doesn't it? Coaster? First of all, there is nothing smooth and slow about wooden roller coasters. I hope you have a strong neck. Aftershock was smoother–I'll admit. But slow–not so much.
And I didn't open my eyes. I tried, but I could never tell what the blur meant and so I let my lids do what they were made to do–insulate my mind the best they could from the sheer monstrosity of the experience. And insulate they did. No lasting ill effects. My nose is sore, but that's it. Mr. Mental Maytag was tall enough his face didn't slam into the padded bar, but mine's a touch tender today.
Oh, and my kids–they never went on the roller coaster. Oh no. They mocked me the rest of the day for not joining them on the other rides but I clung to that one fact–um, did you ride the big one with Mummy? No? Okay then, be a dear, give me your hat and go ride the tilt-a-whirl.
I was off the hook for the next eleven hours. And the best part? We didn't even have to stay eleven hours, because the drizzle turned intermittently into thunderstorms and by 8:30 pm, an all-out downpour. We almost saw the sun once, for about thirty seconds but then the black and yellow clouds boiled into again. Creepy grayish-yellow, seriously.
We finally huddled under a canopy by the exit, waiting for an errant member of the family and watched a river form at our feet. My thirteen-year-old took off his tennis shoes, wrung them out, and looked out at the storm. "Huh," he said. "I never understood the whole idea of cancelling events due to rain, you know? Like what's the worst a bit of rain can do? Get spots on your shirt?" (What can I say? We're from Moses Lake.)
By the time we reached the van we looked like we'd all jumped in the creek. I was secretly glad to be two hours ahead of schedule, muggy ride home or not–I knew what was coming at six a.m. this morning and even compared to a jump in the creek or a roller coaster ride, plunging back into this job was infinitely more shocking.
I gained a new appreciation for pillows and appliances and the telephone, but as much as I missed my little ones–and yes, I actually did miss them–I have to tell you, it was quiet up there in the mountains. I've finally got the monsters all down for a nap this afternoon, but my ears are still ringing.