When my daughter turned sixteen, she and I began a tradition of celebrating her birthday together, just the two of us. We typically went for an overnight stay at a nice hotel nearby, where we enjoyed a spa treatment and dinner out. It was our special mother/daughter “bonding” time and a treat that I always looked forward to.
The year she turned twenty-two, she came to me with a different request, “Mom, I want to go skydiving for my birthday this year.” My logical response of, “You want to do what?” fell on deaf ears as she laid out the plan. The plan, had to be loosely based on truth while not revealing all, since she knew her father would not be pleased.
Not the type of person to keep secrets from my husband, I justified my deceit by deciding that it would be better to spare him the agony of knowing what we were up to, rather than trying to convince him that it was safe. After all, he would just sit at home and worry until the phone rang. So, we allowed him to believe we were headed up to Orlando for two nights at Disney World and off we went, to Skydive Sebastian.
We arrived for our 12:00 reservation and were handed paperwork that included a lot of very scary language, in very large print – stuff like YOU COULD DIE! appeared more than once on the liability waiver. We cheerfully signed every page and trotted off to our fifteen-minute “lesson.”
We were assigned to very experienced skydivers who literally became our lifeline. Getting acquainted, learning how to position our bodies into a gliding position and much talk about the landing (apparently that is when most accidents happen) filled the time while we awaited our turn.
Finally, it was time to board the plane.
Those are the “expert skydivers” clowning it up behind us. Had we seen this, we might have taken a minute to pause. But no, I dutifully scooted on my bottom to the open door; trusted joker attached at my spinal cord, and fell face first into the clouds. To be honest, that few seconds of free-fall was the scariest part of the ride. Once he maneuvered us into the glide position, it was all just one big Oh, My, god! The glide, the beauty of the earth below, the awareness of every emotion within me and the sensation of being completely out of control is beyond description. Trust me, that face says it all. Screams of complete exhilaration and delight! Followed by a picture perfect landing, relief and all smiles. Knees, nicely tucked awaiting my turn to plant feet on the ground. We made it!
We actually did spend the night in Orlando, and we had a wonderful day at Disney World, with hubby non the wiser.
When we returned home a few days later, we were anxious to share our story. Part of the package at Skydive Sebastian is a disc of professional photographs and a video of your skydive. We popped my daughter’s disc into a laptop, under the pretense of showing off our Disney photos. Much to his surprise, there was our daughter, falling out of an airplane. The range of emotions on his face went from “What the #%*@” to “I can’t believe you let her do this.” When he realized that I did it too, he could not contain his surprise and joy for the two of us. That was when the “wow, this is so cool” moment that we were waiting for happened and we knew the deception would soon be forgiven. I had to promise to never, ever do this again. I said “sure babe,” with my fingers crossed behind my back.
Note: the photos are marginal quality because I took pictures of glossy pages in the Shutterfly book that I created with the disc of still prints which we were provided. Those photographs and the video are amazing, but unfortunately, the disc is packed away in some unknown crevice within our home.
If you find yourself in South Florida, Sebastian is a great coastal town to visit and has much to offer beyond the skydiving experience. Follow our Discover Florida Series to learn more about our amazing State.