On the second full day of our Mexican adventure, we crossed the street and headed to the zip line park.
You should probably know something about me at this point. I’m scared of heights. Like, really scared of heights. I don’t go higher than the second step of a ladder. I don’t climb to the top of the state capitol or get on the roof. Heights are not my thing.
But the kids wanted to go to the zip line park, so we went.
If you’ve never had this experience, I’ll walk you through it. First thing, you get all harnessed up. Safety is key when you’re literally jumping off of platforms dozens of feet in the air. So after you’re harnessed, you sit through a small safety presentation. They show you how to slow yourself down and to stop. Emphasis is put on NOT putting your hands in front of where your harness is attached to the line. Don’t want to lose a finger!
I’m a big person, so I required an extra harness so that I could “ride more comfortably.” One of my kids asked what it was for and I said, “It’s for fat people.”
Our quick witted guide told me, “No, lady! It’s for sexy people.” Yes, I tipped him.
The first jump was off the wing of an airplane. It was a fireman’s pole kind of thing, only a rope, not a pole. It was actually not that scary. You had some control, as you could hang on. Easy-peasy.
Next, was a bungee jump. It was more of a swing than a jump but you had to free fall off the edge of the airplane wing. It was high. It was terrifying. The kids got all the Canadians in our group to cheer for me. “You can do it, Mama!”
So, after walking away once, it was finally down to me and Asa left at the top. I told him if he did it, I would, too. The little stinker took me up on it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so afraid for my physical well being as I was in that moment. The guide hitched me to the line and counted to three. “Uno. Dos. Tres!” And that was that. I was suddenly falling, then flying through the air. I screamed all the way through the first arc. Then I quit screaming and started smiling. I had done the scariest thing and. I. didn’t. die.
After barely catching my breath at the bottom, it was time for the next challenge: the zip line course. I have to throw that last word in there because y’all, I didn’t just do one line. I did seven! Once a person stepped off that first platform, there was no turning back.
I got partly up and stopped to rest for just a minute. Then my legs started to shake. But I climbed another set of stairs and watched as our new Canadian friends started zipping by one at a time. I made it to the final landing before the zipping platform and I froze. I just couldn’t make myself go any further.
I’d been thinking about Vance since the first jump. How he’d always been my biggest cheerleader. How fearless he was when it came to heights and how he knew I was terrified of this. I could see his smile and hear his voice cheering me on, telling me it was going to be okay. That I was braver than I knew and that he was proud of me. It wasn’t a vision or anything, but I saw his face in my mind. The smile in his bright blue eyes.
And I started to bawl like a baby right there on the landing.
Poor Angel. He wasn’t quite sure what to do with this poor American lady losing it on his course. He kept looking at me, saying, “Please don’t cry lady. It will be okay. Just watch me. Don’t look down. Please, lady, don’t cry.”
I couldn’t stop the tears but I could control the sobbing. So I kept my eyes on Angel (Coincidence in the name? I think not.) and climbed on up. At the top he asked me if I wanted to go tandem with him or another guide. I shook my head no. My kids had already gone and were waiting for me on the next landing. I was not about to take the chicken exit. I could do this.
I took a deep breath and told him to hook me in! Then on the count of three, I launched myself into the air, past the point of no return, and I zip lined to the other side. When my feet hit the platform, a couple of my kids were still there. I got a “Good job, Mom,” from them and a few “Good job, Mama!”‘s from the guides.
The next jump off was easier. By the third time, I can say that I really enjoyed it. I took in the scenery. The beach. The trees. The buildings. The giant sky.
It only took a handful of seconds to get from one side to the other but in those moments, I could feel the hand of God. On the world he created. On my family. On me. His grace rested on my weary soul as I flew across the Mexican sky.
Zip lining was not on my bucket list. I had no desire to do it. But this trip, for me, was a lot about doing hard things by myself. About putting on a brave face, hitching up my extra large granny panties and doing what needs done. About conquering fears and above all, about moving forward with this life I’ve been dealt. I’m a single mom now, like it or not. This is my life. I’m going to live it, conquering one terrifying moment at at time. And likely, always seeing those blue eyes and that deep voice in my head, cheering me on, telling me I can do it, and letting me know he’s waiting for me on the other side.