Greatest adventures

By Stacy Thompson

In about a week I’m going to embark upon one of my greatest physical and mental challenges to date (but more about that later). As I sat down to write this post, I intended to reflect on the coolest adventures I’ve been fortunate enough to experience, but then very quickly realized that the list very clearly centered around one person – my mom.

There are many forms a mom may take, but mine has generally gone a little beyond the norm – I have, since I was very young, always noted that mine was “not a real Mom” but in the best possible way – as some examples, and as my list of greatest experiences/adventures ever, following are some of my mom’s best ringleader moments:

  • “What are you doing this weekend?” – these were the words I heard one Tuesday evening from my mom. The Saturday that followed included jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 11,000 feet with a couple of experienced jumpers at the ready to assist if our chutes didn’t open. Fortunately, the chutes opened quite nicely and we were left with an empowering, exhilarating experience of a lifetime!
  • Flipper was flippin’ awesome! We’ve had a few amazing animal-related experiences together – cuddling a Koala, hugging a monkey, getting up-close-and-personal with a giant clam and enjoying snack time with a joey in a kangaroo’s pouch – but sharing the waters with a dolphin ranks pretty high on the list!
  • “If I tell you…you cry…then you no go” – these were the words of our Peruvian guide on our treacherous way to Machu Picchu – the days were long, but worth the ultimate prize in our visit to one of the world’s wonders! It was the first of many hikes we have taken in the past several years, and started a trend that I hope will continue for many years to come!
  • Ultimate Hike – 30-mile hike in one day? Sure, why not, particularly when it means raising funds for children’s cancer research. The mother-of-all-bonding-experiences was a blast…even despite the snake – please enjoy our video journal…

https://www.facebook.com/stacyt11/videos/10209175407371613/

https://www.facebook.com/stacyt11/videos/10209175618896901/

  • “Go ahead…I dare you” – a/k/a “When in Rome…” So, our actual experiences in the Eternal City were pretty tame, but our adventures in the home of the bungee-jump, Queenstown, New Zealand, were anything but. Mom decided that we needed to engage in the home-town past-time and plunge 180 feet down a rocky cliff attached to an oversized rubber band. I stood on the platform over said cliff until our guides deigned to dare me to jump…so yeah, that one I blame on Mom and the overly exuberant Kiwis!
  • Mother Goddess of the Earth – base camp of Everest – we made it to 18,500 feet, trekked through a snowstorm and managed to survive without a shower for 6 days. The trip to Nepal and all its glory was unforgettable, unimaginable and indescribable – we truly loved the people, our Sherpas, our Yaks and our memories of The Peak of Heaven.

 

And finally, a trip we will not be taking together, but one that I am taking entirely because of her.  A few years back, after attaining her Medicare card, my mother took on the ultimate challenge to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro – 19, 341 feet, the Rooftop of Africa and Mountain of Greatness.  At the time, I thought she had really lost it and did not understand why she would put herself through something like that.  Then she returned and spoke of the beauty of the hike, the serenity of the climb and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment at the summit of that great peak.  So I’m once again following my Mom’s direction and in her footsteps – she will be with me every step of the way and hers is the hug I look forward to most upon my return!  I only hope to make her proud and to share one more great adventure!!

 

Helicopter or Ambulance?

By: Lara Winburn

With spring, we get pretty days, yellow pollen and a lot more time to play outside. We head to every park in town after work and on the weekends before the heat of summer is upon us and those slides burn baby bums. But with that park time, to me, there comes a conundrum.

When my daughter was 2, she was Captain Cautious. I would hold her hand as she carefully and slowly climbed equipment and I caught her at the end of every slide. I hovered because she wanted me to. I kept her safe.

Cut to my little Wildman, my 2-year-old, who climbs everything with no fear, no trepidation. He giggles and he goes. So are you a helicopter that hovers around every monkey bar trying Helicopter parentto save teeth and limbs OR do you just let them learn on their own and risk a trip in an ambulance?

I may have mentioned before that I broke my arm four times before I was 18. I was a bit of a daredevil so the helicopter hovering would have been to no avail. I needed to try… and fall… and break… in order to learn that some tricks WERE a bad idea. But what is the right balance? I want my kids, whether it is in the park or on the ball field or in the classroom, to be independent and brave but I do not want to watch them fall if hovering could have softened the fall. I do not want them to be afraid to try new things or climb to new heights and explore what their little bodies are capable of. I do not want them to be whiny and dependent because I was that mom that held a safety net under the swing set. It is a balance indeed.

And it seems to me, this is just the beginning of this whole helicopter/ambulance parenting dilemma. I may not survive elementary age, pre-teen, or, heaven help me, the teenage years – when you have to choose to be a helicopter about friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and academics. Or when you have to just wait and become a paramedic when the heartbreak happens.

What do you think? Helicopter or ambulance? Seems you run a risk either way.