Like my mama says, “you don’t always have to act your age”. Like mother, like daughter.
Example: rope swinging, boat house jumping into Lake Burton
I watched and watched and watched the kids take turn after turn on the rope swing. I had flashbacks of my youth when Dad found the tallest, sturdiest tree he could find on the steepest mountain and proceeded to red-neck engineer a contraption to get a wrist sized rope up and over the straightest branch to created the scariest rope swing EVER. The most ominous ride at Six Flags had nothing on this sucker. See “growing up a Hayes” for more details. Jump to present. I may be old, I may be large but my God I can still have fun! So I marched my happy, shorts-over-bathing-suit self right up to the ladder and, to the wonderment of my offspring, climbed that bad boy with purpose. At the top I grabbed the rope with confidence reaching high above my head to grasp the knot. There all confidence left me. Crap this was hi. Holy mother…I wasn’t strong enough to hold up my own considerable weight. What was I thinking? I don’t often admit defeat but I would have in this case had it not been for a ring of children surrounding the ladder looking at me or the group of older adults on the dock hooping and hollering. No backing down (literally). So, offering up a prayer to the Saint of Please-let-me-hang-on-until-I-over-the-water, I grabbed the knot, tucked the end between my tail and leapt.
WAAHHHOOOOO—I was flying. Over the dock, higher and higher, I was doing it. I believe I even let out an unladylike yelp. At the height of the arc my fearless-kid-nature kicked in and I let go. Arms high, toes pointed and SPLASH into the cool waters of Lake Burton I went. Oh yeah.
Next….the boat house. Twice as high as the rope and four times as imposing. Pumped up from my successful rope leap I hiked up my wet bathing suit where it required hiking and pulled out the wet suit from places it shouldn’t me and headed to the stairs. My little ones followed my like ducklings…”Dive Momma!” chirped one. “Can you do a back flip?: asked another. Right. These kids were either very naive about my abilities or delusional about my capabilities. I yielded their request as I made my way across the boat house.
At the edge of the boat house I stopped. No. Freakin. Way. I might be adventurous but wasn’t stupid. I backed up, intending escape, and bumped into my daughter. Big brown eyes so like my own stared back. Splash…all around me children were leaping, jumping and spinning off the top, fearlessly. I turned and made my way back to the edge. It felt like a life lesson. I want her to be brave, fearless, adventurous and mama always said to practice what you preach, so I grasped my nose FIRMLY and leapt. Down, down, down, down I went before hitting the water with the force of a meteor hitting earth. The further I went down, the higher my bathing suit went up. Man-oh-man what a feeling.
Yep, mama was right. Acting your age is overrated.
And yep, mama gives as good as she gets. Practice what you preach! A few hours later she took the plunge while holding hands with, and I directly quote, her BFF’s. Go Mama!