Flying Free: Lessons From My Six Year Old
Glenwood Cavern Adventures
We got a chance to go out and visit Colorado last week. The kids and I packed up and flew out to a very lonely Daddy and puppy and had a great week of family time and neighborhood time and sell our stuff time and packing - who doesn't LOVE packing?!
On the last day of our trip, my husband planned to take us to Glenwood Cavern Adventure Park in Glenwood, CO. You can take a peek at the park here. None of us had ever been there, so we were really looking forward to it.
To get to the park, you had to ride a gondola up and over the mountain. Here's my son and I taking the trip.
Once at the top of the mountain, there was a ton of fun activities for all of us to do, including a 4-D movie theater, laser tag, an alpine slide, a zip line, a roller coaster, and cave tours. This mama was extremely relieved that one of the attractions, the giant canyon swing, was offline for the day. No strapping ourselves into a huge pendulum that swings out perpendicular to the canyon without a protective net just in case? Darn it!
We enjoyed all the attractions....multiple times. I wish there was a way to have video taped our decent on the alpine slide - that was my favorite - but you couldn't bring cameras on the ride. The cave tours were amazing, although the kids weren't huge fans of the "let's turn the light off in the middle of the cave and experience what it would be like if the lights stopped working" routine.
To top it all off, both kids were tall enough to ride the Cliffhanger, their first real roller coaster and incidentally, the highest elevation coaster in North America. Who knew? 1 minute and 20 seconds of twisting, spinning, and screaming. Yep, pure joy. Ah, successful family adventure trip. But wait! What's this? As they're coming off the ride, my six year old pipsqueak of a daughter is jumping up and down screaming that the canyon swing is open, the canyon swing is open! Hooray! (Cue stomach dropping, palms sweating and repeated prayers that she will be too short to ride)
This is the canyon swing. I took this picture at the halfway point of our cave tour. When the men were working on it. Because something was WRONG with it earlier in the day. (or it needed regular maintenance, whatever). Picture, if you will, four people - two on each side - strapped to this thing. At the lap only. And then the swing shoots out from its tower, to the left, perpendicular to the tower so that the people sitting in it are either looking at the heavens, or staring straight down into the canyon. It goes back and forth like this a few times until it deposits those four back to safety and waits for the next four crazy people.
My daughter ran to get in line for this ride. Ran. To the line. (PS, she was JUST tall enough.) My son, who is older, did not. Instead he stood back and listed out all the reasons why this was not a good idea. Too dangerous. Too high. Not safe. Too scary. And that's when it hit me: he sounded just like me. Because these were all the things I was saying in my head. I at least tried to conceal my fear, but it was there, screaming at me in my head. As the line progressed and he realized that his little sister was in fact going to do this he snapped. Marched down from the observation deck we were waiting on, balled out my husband in front of the others waiting in line and stormed off in tears. I caught up with him and tried to calm him down, but he was not having it. "I can't watch this," he said. "I can't watch her do this. I can't watch any of these people do this."
And so we left. He and I rode the alpine slide one more time and he even did the rock climbing wall. It was fun. As we walked back towards the canyon swing, there was my husband, and my daughter. They were windblown and excited, and safe. She was jumping up and down. "Mommy, it was the Best. Ride. EVER!" And I missed it. I missed riding it and I missed seeing her ride it. And so did my son. Right then and there I decided, I want to be like her when I grow up. I might never ride that ride and that's ok, but I want to learn how to look at things her way. Not with a laundry list of how things might go wrong, but with excitement for the adventure ahead. I want to fly free. And hopefully, I can pass that on to my son as well. My daughter's already got it.