I came across this photo the other day, and it brought back a “parenting memory.”
My friend and I had taken our girls to Knott’s for the first time. They were five. It was their first amusement park and they were having a blast.
We, the parents, thought they might have a fun time on the Timber Mountain Log Ride. I went on it when I was her age, so why not? It’s a relatively slow ride, and we convinced them that the last drop was not that big of a deal. In comparison to drops on other roller coaster type rides, it really is one of the smaller drops. At least to us.
This is how it went in our heads: It would be sort of like ripping off a bandage – painful only for an instant. And then we pictured them laughing, and thanking us for “encouraging” them to go on the ride, perhaps even asking us to go on again and again.
Yeah, well…those faces in the picture? They weren’t laughing at the end of the ride. And I think the fact that they had each other for support only contributed to how long they made us pay for our bad judgment. It was an epic parent fail moment.
Those happen. Even at some of the funnest places on earth, we fail. And we paid the price, at least for the rest of the day.
Flash forward 6 years, and I’m standing in line at Dollywood for Thunderhead with that same daughter. I’ve somehow convinced her to go on the coaster with me. It’s a wooden coaster, “How bad could it be,” I think were my exact words. Little did I know that it’s rated #19 in the Top 100 Roller Coasters by Coaster Buzz. It was steep, and bumpy, and wild, and she screamed the whole time, not to mention, my back paid a pretty good price too.
But this time, when she got off the ride, the adrenaline was pumping and she couldn’t stop talking, and “it was the best thing ever,” and “it was so much fun”…I thought it worked! She likes roller coasters! Yeah!
Until…the adrenaline wore off. “How could you take me on that,” “it was so scary,” “I’ll never ride another roller coaster again!”
Parenting is like that: a series of epic fails and adrenaline rushes, and regrets and elation…all rolled into one. And what one kid finds “traumatic” the other celebrates in victory.
In hindsight, I should’ve seen it coming. She isn’t much of a risk taker, and stays to the cautious side of life. So maybe I did get my own enthusiasm mixed in there somehow. Will it ever happen again? Probably. Will I mean for it to happen? Probably not.
Fortunately, there are no trophies for epic parenting fails. It doesn’t go on your permanent record, and they won’t hold it against you for the rest of their lives…well, maybe.
I guess I’ll have to wait until her friends convince her to go on the next roller coaster. She says that will never happen. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Besides, she has a younger brother. Maybe he’ll like roller coasters. LOL
(Photo copyright writesideoftheroad)