Friday, February 23, 2018

The Family Forum: Motherhood - The Best Roller Coaster Ride Ever

Our oldest son was leaving college and going into the Air Force, so we decided to take a quick family vacation before he left. I’m very proud of him and the decision he made, but my heart hurt knowing, soon, he wasn’t just going away to college; he was going away and not coming back for a long time. 

He would no longer drive down for the weekend to do laundry and get some free food. When he did come back, it would be as an independent grownup who no longer really needed his mom. 

So, this was our last vacation as a family of four (two parents, two kids). We went to Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida … our happy place. 

We rode all the rides, including the water rides. We went on rides that whipped us through the air to dry our clothes out so we could get wet all over again. We battled a thunderstorm (those do not keep us from roller coasters). We enjoyed butter beer at Harry Potter World and watched as hordes of Hogwart’s student wannabes walked around in robes and scarves, waving their wands in the air. I was secretly wishing they had the robes in my size. 

We got our picture taken with a raptor that tried to take a bite out of us. We watched King Kong battle T-Rexes and rode the monster Hulk rollercoaster. (Why my kids think it’s fun to hear their mom scream for her life is beyond me.) We enjoyed turkey legs and churros and more butter beer. As always, the Carrigees closed it down, dragging our tired bodies back to the hotel room to get some sleep and wake up early to do it all again the next day. 

On our final night, on the boat ride back to our hotel, my oldest son sat on my left side, the youngest sat on my right. I was happy, snuggled in the middle of the two sides of my heart. It was nice, and I could have stayed there forever. During the ride, I reminisced with my oldest about the fun times we had together when he was younger, and recalled all the fun stuff we did and the crazy messes we got into. 

He told me I had been a good mother, and kissed my cheek. The smile on my face was from ear to ear. He suggested if I’d ask his younger brother, his sibling would tell me the same thing … that I was a good mom. I didn’t think I could be happier. 

My oldest looked at me again and said, “No, you were a GREAT mom, and you’re still a great mom. Thank you.” He then laid his head on my shoulder. 

I’ll leave it to your imagination whether I was crying or not. All I will tell you is I can’t imagine any amusement park attraction coming close to that thrill. No ups and downs, loops, corkscrews or spirals could match it. No cool 3D imaging, or new technological gizmos that make it feel as if you’re flying with Harry Potter, could do this moment justice. Even rides that thrust you into a movie wouldn’t come close. 

That calm boat ride, nestled between my two boys, will stay with me until my last breath as being the best ride EVER.

 

By Melissa Carrigee 

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