Fear and Courage

~
“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
~

It was hotter then Hades, yet we were determined to carry-on as planned, taking our oldest children on their 1st visit to Cedar Point – the roller coaster capital of the world.

A bird’s-eye shot taken from the top of our ferris wheel ride.

  • My husband and I were reminiscent (having not visited in years).
  • Our 6-year-old was cautiously excited.
  • And our 9-year-old was ready to conquer any ride (even in 100+ degree weather).

A day at the park.

The heat of the day was made bearable only by the Lake Erie breeze, while the park itself lay sparsely populated with practically non-existent lines. We hopped on rides quicker then one had time to consider the consequences of their thrills.

About halfway through our visit we arrived upon the “Skyhawk” – a ride that looks initially deceptively un-thrilling.

Most attractions have you meandering through maze-like lines, glimpsing only portions of their excitement along the way – leaving no room for deterioration of courage. However, the queue for the Skyhawk wrapped around its open parameter – forcing us to watch its thrills in increasingly nervous anticipation as the line advanced.

Moving like an enormous pendulum with tiny specs of people attached to it, each SWOOSH of the ride produced a greater wave of panic across my son’s face – his expression quickly becoming less enthusiastic. Simultaneously, my husband’s face began to quickly lose color.

“Uh, uh.” Said my somewhat panicked husband. “There is NO WAY we are riding this.” He concluded (of course only for the sake of our anxious son).

But my daughter, she wanted to experience the thrill.

“Mom, you’ll do it with me? Right?” She asked.

I’ve realized for some time that my oldest child has a courageous streak, this inner drive (which on occasion also presents itself as stubbornness).

“Of course! Us girls will do it!” I replied, holding back my building fear as I glanced towards the rest of my fleeing family.

Approaching the ride, my daughter and I took seats side by side, her excited expression not indicating a drop of fear.

And…

SWOOSH.

We’re off. Specks on the pendulum.

Backward. Forward. SWOOSH.
This is grrr-eeeaaa-

STOP.

Oh. MY. GOSH.
I suddenly knew for certain that I was going

TO DIE

My heart left on the concrete below – the concrete I had just passed by and was now looking directly down at.

As my life flashed through my eyes, I briefly turned to my daughter whose eyes had filled with tears.

“Mom!” she shouted with more fear and panic then I’ve ever heard her express,

“I.
Am.
Going.
TO.
FALL.”

My arm (which, until I saw her, would not have considered leaving its death grip on my own harness) reached securely over her chest. Looking directly into her eyes I said with inexplicable calmness,

“No. YOU. Aren’t.
I’ve got you.
Promise.”

Her fear began to subside. Her courage rebounding.
Our daughter’s 1st trip to Cedar Point, forever engrained in her memory (and also in mine).

(A video of the Skyhawk in action that does a great job of showing how “deceptively un-thrilling” – NOT – it is! – Click here if video doesn’t preview)


This week I am linking up with Bianca at Bits of Bee for her Quotable Bits Link-up.

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19 Responses to Fear and Courage

  1. Pamela says:

    Kate, this one made me tear up! Being present and trying the scary things with your daughter…you are such a good mom! Hearing about this ride (which I had never heard of) made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve been to Cedar Point …1996?

    • Kate F. says:

      Seeing Cedar Point through a parent’s and adult’s eyes was MUCH different then I remember it as a recent college grad (the last time I visited). It was… interesting… to say the least ;) You should definitely return to see it for yourself!

      P.S. The rides are STILL amazingly thrilling!

  2. angela says:

    We haven’t been to Cedar Point in years, and I can’t decide if I am excited or worried about taking the kids one day. I used to be fearless with rides, and I don’t know if I am anymore. Though this makes me think I will be brave for the kids’ sake :)

    • Kate F. says:

      I can’t handle the twisting rides – they remind me too much of my bout with vertigo over a year ago – so all rides that spin and twist exclusively tend to be out for me. I may just have to also add “swing-like” rides to that list, that Sky Hawk ride SCARED me TO DEATH!

  3. Tatum B. says:

    My husband and I were really excited to take our daughter to Cedar Point for the first time a few years ago. (It’s always so much fun to experience something from your childhood through your child’s eyes!) She was an instant Snoopy fan and it quickly became a yearly tradition just like when we were kids.

    These days it’s just the Woodstock Express and Jr. Gemini but believe me when I tell you that she is anxiously awaiting the day she’s tall enough for the “real” rollercoasters. Me on the other hand, not so much! Though, when that day comes I know I’ll be right there beside her and just pray that I can remain calm like you. Nothing breaks a Mom down faster than your baby terrified or hurt.

    P.S. The Skyhawk is the SCARIEST.RIDE.EVER! (and I ride them all!) I foolishly rode it once and never will again. I actually lost my voice from screaming so much :( I can’t imagine my “baby” on that ride. Here’s to hoping she never wants to give it a try :)

    • Kate F. says:

      I wish I would have talked with you prior to visiting Tatum. No one has EVER warned me about the SkyHawk! LOL. That would have helped – tremendously. I still am not quite sure how I managed to let go of my own restraint and put my arm across my daughters!

  4. Kate L. says:

    I’ve never even heard of the Sky Hawk. No thanks! I’ll stick to the roller coasters!

  5. Bits of Bee says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. I’ve never heard of Cedar Point, and it looks AMAZING, but watching that video nearly gave me a heart attack! I would have loved that ride when I was younger, but I think every last ounce of bravery I had was sucked out of me when I had my babies! Looks like an exciting family trip, and a great quote to go with it! PS – I agree, while we may not have as much time for our pups, our kids definitely make up for it!

  6. Wow – good for her. AND YOU! That ride reminds me of the Viking Fury at Kings Island, but maybe a TOUCH scarier. And by touch, I mean a heckuva lot scarier!

    • Kate F. says:

      It was ridiculously scary. I haven’t been to Kings Island since I was a kid. The only ride I remember there is “The Beast” (right?) Maybe we will have to try there once our 3rd and youngest child is old enough!

  7. Bruna from Bees with Honey
    Twitter: beeswithhoney
    says:

    Oh my gosh, the Skyhawk looks awesome. I would have loved it … maybe vomited right after … but loved the rush! Good on you for going on it with your daughter. She’ll never forget the experience and that she got to share it with you!

    • Kate F. says:

      The things we do for our kids, huh :) At least I know that is one thing I will never have to do again for her – I don’t think you could pay her enough to ride that particular ride again! LOL.

  8. RoryBore
    Twitter: rorybore
    says:

    that was sooo my 7 year old son on the Drop Zone last summer at our little town fair. he did it anway…..twice. but has declared with absolute authority, “I will not be doing the Drop Zone this summer mommy.” LOL I was so proud of him though. he barely even made the height requirement, and was by far the youngest on the ride. Everyone cheered for him.

    Now my 5 year old daughter is already measuring herself daily in hopes she can give it a go this summer.

    I would wonder where my children get these death defying illusions of grandeur, except…. I Want On that Skyhawk!! Awesome, awesome and more awesome! :)

    • Kate F. says:

      I am sort of a try-everything-once kind of girl too, now that I think about it. Isn’t it funny how much our own children can really make us recognize are own characteristics with more clarity?

      P.S. Just the name “Drop Zone” sounds scary! I think they need to change the name of the Skyhawk to something scarier (like Skyhawk DROP Zone) LOL – to give riders a little more warning to its scariness!!! :)

  9. Susi says:

    You are one brave mommy… I would not have gone on that thing! I used to love roller coasters but as I’ve gotten older I don’t enjoy them as much… I try to get out of going on the scary ones! :)

    • Kate F. says:

      Age has really changed my stance on crazy, scary (and most definitely spinning!) rides too Susi. My daughter seems to love them though – just like I use to as a kid.

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