Six Flags season pass has come in handy this year...but it's not what you think.
In the past two weeks, we've gone five times. Not counting the 3 or 4x we've gone prior to that this season.
I guess these are the perks to being self-unemployed for the time being.
My cautious and sensitive 9 year old son, Danny, has been determined to go on the entry-level 2-loop roller coaster, Mindbender. 🎢🎢🎢🎢🎢
My son confidently marches into the park. He's excited.
He wants to get his confidence up.
He will go on Dahlonega's Mine Train (Runaway Train for my Jersey folks translation), the rickety-ass slow AF joke of a roller coaster that has a surprise drop and picks up speed at the end and quickly approaches the end of the ride.
He will go on that 800x in a row if he could and he feels like THE MAN. He owns that mofo!
Earlier this year, he would have me tightly hold on to him in a very specific way on that ride. I couldn't let go under any circumstances. He's come a long way where he will ride it on his own and sit in the back. He might even raise his arms up!
He will go on Log Jamboree (the equivalent of Great Adventures' Log Flume) which also has a tame drop into a splash of water and his thermometer of courage keeps climbing.
As we move through the park and he hears the ominous music of Gotham City playing throughout the section as we approach The Riddler's Mindbender, I can see Danny start to walk a little slower.
His posture folds a little more into himself.
I ask him "Danny, how are you feeling? You ready?"
"I think I am. But is it okay if I decide not to go on it?" Danny says.
"Of course, Danny. I will support you no matter what you choose."
I am leaning over softly talking to him during the entire line for the ride. I can see he's open to being fed encouraging words - just him and me.
I'm encouraging him to keep doing his meditative breathing to help his body calm his nervous system.
He will ask me again and again - what do the loops feel like? What does the drop feel like? How fast does it go? What year was it built? Why do you think I'll like this one? How do you rank it against the other coasters?
I ask him - what are you telling yourself?
"I can do it?"
You sure can, buddy.
I can see it in his eyes, he won't even look at the train as we approach. He won't go in the row to board the ride unless I remind him to and that it's almost his time. He won't talk anymore. He's going inward. He's wrestling with himself.
I just tell him, "Danny, just remember to put your butt in the seat and strap in. Take deep breaths and I'll be right here with you. Whatever you need."
It's our turn!
I cross through the car to drop the mom-bag I have to lug around in the cubby and turn around to see Danny standing right outside of the coaster car.
Danny's eyes are as big as saucers. Sheer panic has stricken his entire body. He's frozen with terror.
I can see tears well up in his eyes.
I hold out my hand for him to grab mine and I'll help him in.
He can't move. I ask him, "Danny, are you ready to ride or do you want to come through?"
He shakes his head no and his face breaks into a full-on cry.
He crosses over to the platform and the exit gate while I ride down with my wild child 7 year old daughter who has now done this so many times, she barely thinks she needs a seat belt.
Every time we finish, my son is crying his eyes out on the exit ramp and pounding his fists on the railing.
"I want to go on so bad, mom! I don't know why I can't!"
"Danny. I'm proud of you for listening to your body. That takes a lot of courage, too. What do you want to do now, Danny?" I say.
"I want to try again."
And around we go again, back on line.
This scene has played out probably upwards of 20x this year.
But what is truly jaw-dropping is Danny's sheer determination.
I've seen this happen with him in many, many arenas. Going down bigger slides. Climbing trees. Even social settings where he doesn't know a lot of people. Or a subject where he's struggling.
Danny's nature is so freaking cautious. And he LOVES to be in situations where he does feel confident and can shine - and he's so tenacious to not be held back for any reason.
I can see his inner-determination raging inside of him where others would have given up a long time ago.
This season with him feels like my parenting Super Bowl. This is where his character is defined.
I am so grateful to witness this journey. And maybe one day, his body and his mind will be in sync enough to just ride it...🎢
Until then, we are going to keep showing up....do you have any advice for overcoming fear of rollercoasters? I'd love to hear it.
In the meantime, I published an episode today - one that is probably the most vulnerable and honest life update I have ever recorded. And stuff I've never admitted out loud, let alone even to myself.
People ask "how are you doing with all of this?" And the answer is...not great.
P.S. I'd love your support!
P.P.S. In today's episode, I talk about the Hike Inn. If you haven't heard about it, YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS.
P.P.P.S. Want to know how to dress for Fall AND get the best deals from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale that opens tomorrow? This is a STEAL from the best of the best.
P.P.P.P.S. I'm so excited for Barbiecore. For once, I'm ahead of my time.