On Monday, my sweet Cailey turned 9 years old. And because she is who she is, we were persuaded to begin the festivities on Sunday, her pre-birthday, by going to Typhoon Lagoon, a Disney water park.
Typhoon Lagoon is well known for its ginormous wave pool. Which is really just like standing in the ocean, and being swept away by large waves. Except the fear of “Jaws” circa 1976 doesn’t hang over your head. I believe the last time I stepped foot in the ocean, was just prior to the release of “Jaws”. In 1976.
So I suppose that the Typhoon Lagoon wave pool is somewhat safer than the real ocean. But still, you’re not going to find me wading in.
One nice feature at Typhoon is that they offer you a complementary wheelchair. Unlike at the theme parks, where you have to shell out $12.00 for a wheelchair. And $50.00, if you want one with a motor. I usually opt for the $12.00 model, except that I’ve noticed that Fiddledaddy pushes me much like he drives a car. And all I will say about that is that my eyes are closed tightly throughout the ride.
But I’m grateful. I am. My children are far worse, as they like to “let go” whenever there’s a hill. LOOK AT MOMMY GO!
Anyhoo. The free wheelchair at Typhoon Lagoon reminded me that you get what you pay for. There was only one foot rest. So I had to double up on the one foot rest, which was not easy considering I was wearing my leg brace, carrying my crutches, and holding my own backpack.
But I’m not one to complain. Very much.
The girls wanted to ride something called “Crushing Gusher” which is much like a rollercoaster meets innertube affair. Jensen wanted to ride as well, but there was a height requirement of 48″. And since he measure 47″ at his last doctors visit, the chances didn’t look very good. Still, Fiddledaddy thought that he’d take him to the ride, and measure him, because the child has been eating all of his vegetables, as he reminded his father.
From afar, I saw Fiddledaddy and Jensen give me the thumbs up, meaning that he was able to ride. Later I learned that Jensen really wasn’t tall enough, but as he put it, “The worker lady thought I was cute and she let me go on.”
Work it, baby boy, work it.
Then it was on to the wavepool. I had the pleasure of planting myself in a nice chair, listening to my iPod, while Fiddledaddy took the children in. It’s a pity about the leg brace, and wheelchair, and me not being able to go into the wavepool.
Just a pity…
They waded in, and I hollered for them to be careful and stay close to their dad. I wasn’t worried so much about Jensen, because he was wearing a complementary life vest. And from what I could tell, all the pieces came together in the right place. But it was free, so you can never be too careful.
A while later, I heard a lifeguard’s whistle blow, and I saw other lifeguards running toward an area that I couldn’t see from where I was sitting. And because the waves had ceased, all the water park patrons were turned to look at some commotion that I still couldn’t see.
I took my earphones off and stood up. Because deep in my mother’s heart, I knew that out of all those hundreds of water park patrons out there in the wave pool, it was my kid that all the commotion was about.
My suspicions were confirmed when I saw Fiddledaddy round a corner with my 3 offspring. And the little pre-birthday girl was crying. She came to me and threw her arms around me, sniffling. I learned that Cailey and Emme had indeed strayed too far from their former lifeguard father, and went out to the deep end where the waves originated. And at that point, there is a tremendous undertow, and Cailey found herself getting sucked deeper and deeper into the back of the wave pool. But instead of trying to swim her way out of it on top of the water, she made like a mermaid and attempted to swim out of it underwater. Much like Ariel.
Which wore her out. A lifeguard yelled to Emme, “Are you girls okay?” To which Emme replied, “I am, but I think my sister is in trouble.”
And with that, the lifeguard shut down the waves, and jumped in to save my Cailey.
Fiddledaddy used to be a Disney World lifeguard, so he is well versed in the protocol. The lifeguards there are well trained, and take no chances. For that, I am extremely grateful.
After Cailey cried it out, her daddy persuaded her to go back in and face her fears. But in my twisted mind, I wanted to scream with every fiber of my being, “NO, NEVER GO BACK IN!” But I let her go. And I was awfully proud that she did.
But this time she stuck close to her daddy.
One of the hardest things about being a parent, is watching your child fail. But even more difficult, is to let them go back and try again.
It’s that part of mothering where I have to learn to let go and trust that God has them in His hand.
When all was said and done, Cailey’s last day of being 8 years old was an eventful one. It was a day when she conquered her fears. And her mother learned to let go.
Just a little.