A Mother’s Skydiving Wish
Yesterday, for Mother’s Day, I posted, here, on my blog ‘A Mother’s Memories on Mother’s Day‘, sharing two memories that are special to me as a mom, one about Kelbi, my daughter, and one about Nate, my son. The memory I shared about Nate seemed to resonate with quite a number of people, who emailed me and suggested that the skydiving story should be it’s own blog post. And, so, here it is…
Nate & His Mother’s Skydiving Birthday Wish
On the day Nate was born, in the middle of the night, I whispered to him, “When you turn 18, we are going to celebrate by going skydiving together!” and I kissed his little nose and I studied every inch of his beautiful face. It was a moment I wanted indelibly imprinted in my memories.
When he turned one, I made up a magical story about our great adventure going skydiving together on the day of his 18th birthday, and gently flew him around the room, as he giggled and laughed excitedly.
When Nate turned two, he was already showing his athletic and adventurous spirit, jumping off of anything he could climb onto. And as we were playing and laughing, I told him that when he turns 18, he and I will go skydiving together to celebrate. He smiled and yelled, “Yay!!!!” and jumped off some stacked up cushions. I don’t think he knew what skydiving was, but I guess it sounded like fun to him and we both yelled, “Yay!”
It had become my little tradition to mention to Nate on his birthday, how we would go skydiving together when he turned 18.
And, so, on Nate’s third birthday, I said to him, “Nate, guess what?! When you turn 18, we are going to go skydiving together to celebrate your birthday.” and he asked me what skydiving was. So, I explained that skydiving is when you go up on a plane, with parachutes on, and you jump out of the plane, and…. he went running out of the room screaming “Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!”
Hmm… well, that was unexpected.
I assured him that he didn’t have to worry because it would not happen for a very long time, not until he was a young man, but it would be a lot of fun. “No, no, no.” he shouted back and cried. So, naturally, I did not mention it at all on his 4th birthday, nor his 5th birthday, nor his 6th birthday, nor his 7th birthday. But I had not given up on the idea. He just needed to be a little bit older, I told myself.
So, on his 8th birthday, I asked Nate, “What do you think about us going skydiving together, ten years from now, to celebrate your 18th birthday?” He looked at me for a moment, and asked, “You mean jumping out of a plane together?” I nodded and he exclaimed, “Are you crazy?!? We could die!!!”
Okay, so, skip ahead a few birthdays to when Nate turned 15. He’s over six feet tall, he’s in high school, he’s a jock, he’s an amazing pitcher, he’s adventurous and daring, and his 18th birthday is a few years away, so, anticipating a completely different response, I mention that I thought it would be so cool to go skydiving together on his 18th birthday and I asked him what he thought about that.
He stared at me with incredulity, making one of those teenager faces they all seem to have in their repertoire of facial expressions, and announced with all seriousness: “Mom, you can go if you want to, but I could injure my pitching arm, and then there goes my professional baseball career!”
“Hmmm…” I responded with a smile, “Yes, I didn’t think about your professional baseball career.”
So, fast-forward three years later, to the week of Nate’s 18th birthday. I have not given up, this is my last shot, and I’m taking it.
“Hey, Nate! I have this great idea for your birthday!” but before I can get another word out, he says, “No, I am not going skydiving! The only way I am ever jumping out of a plane is if it’s on fire!” I stood there almost wanting to laugh and cry at the same time.
On that day, I had to accept that the dream I had, on the day he was born, to go skydiving with Nate on his 18th birthday was my dream, not his. And even though I had envisioned that moment for the entire 18 years of his life, I had to let that dream go.
However, the bigger dream, the more important dream, was for him to grow up to be a good man and a good father. And he has exceeded my dreams there. Last year, at the age of 28 he became a father, an amazing father! And although he never made it to the big leagues… he injured his pitching arm slipping on a wet floor at the restaurant where he was a waiter working his way through college… he instead studied to be an EMT, a paramedic, and a firefighter. He has already saved a number of lives and I couldn’t be prouder of the man Nate has become.
But I skipped ahead and missed the end of my story.
The night before Nate’s 21st birthday he called me up and asked, “Mom, what are you doing tomorrow?” I responded that it was his birthday and, of course, I had blocked out the whole day for him. “Great. I’ll stop by in the morning to pick you up. Wear your jeans, hiking boots and something warm.”
Ever since Nate was a baby we have gone to the coast, be it hiking or just hanging out at the beach… Monterey, Half Moon Bay, Carmel, Big Sur, San Francisco… we had covered the north-central coast of California thoroughly and frequently. I assumed we were probably going to spend the day out on the coast hiking – my favorite thing to do.
So, the morning of his birthday I was looking forward to our day, thinking about what else I should throw in my backpack, when the doorbell rang and there was Nate.
“Guess what we are doing today, Mom?” he said with a big smile on his face.
“We are going skydiving!”
Martie Hevia (c) 2011 – All Rights Reserved