Monday, March 28, 2011

How I Overcame My Fear of Roller Coasters

I was completely petrified of roller coasters my whole childhood, especially the ones that have loops and hooper joos and go backwards.  I don't know if it's because my mom had instilled a sense of trepidation in me (the "Don't go to big cities, someone might shoot you" type of fear) or because I watched too many Lifetime movies of kids falling out of roller coasters at the highest doesn't really matter, I was just pee my pants, throw up in your face, scared.  I think there were two times during high school that someone got me to go on a real roller coaster.  The first time it was to impress a boy and the other time...probably to impress a different boy.  In both cases, the ride ends with me crying and gasping for breath.  Real impressive, huh?

Fast forward to 2003 and I married this amazing guy who grew up a few hours from one of the country's roller coaster hotspots:  Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH.  And of course, he loved riding the awful contraptions.  We decided to honeymoon in Disney World (which really is the happiest place on Earth) and I figured that I was married and officially an adult, and it was time for me to grow up and begin to face my fears.  We started off with the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster and that wasn't too bad, but let's face it, they let 3 and 4 year olds ride that ride.  The next two that I promised I'd try were Aerosmith's Rockin Roller Coaster and Space Mountain.  Somehow I had convinced my mind to believe that because these two looping roller coasters were inside, that I was much safer.  I think I just really believed (and possibly still do) that falling to your death isn't as bad when you can't see it happening.  But anyway, I tried the roller coasters, to again impress another boy, and while they weren't my favorite rides in the world, I didn't hate them and I had thought I'd overcome my fear.  I was pretty bummed out the next spring when we went to Hershey Park with a youth group we were helping with and I came to find out that while I might have overcome my fear of indoor roller coasters, I was still terrified of the outdoor version.  This time I figured I had been married long enough (almost a year) for someone to leave me over an irrational fear and I didn't give in that time!

Since then, we've been back to Disney a few times and I would get in line for the roller coasters I had grown accustomed to, holding my husband's hand with my sweaty palm, as I felt myself have a mini heart attack.  I was willing to ride them, but I was still terrified deep down.

Fast forward to March of 2011 and add two kids to the mix.  It was time again to go back to Disney World, but this was the first time with two toddlers in tow.  Let me tell you, for those who don't know, Disney's different when you have kids.  Forget about sleeping in until noon and spending late nights at Pleasure Island.  Instead, replace that with stroller parking (yes, they have stroller parking) and kiddie rides out the wazoo.  It's still wonderful, but just different.  Because of the difference, if hubby and I wanted to ride the big kid rides we had to take turns.  We aren't sure when we'll get back to our version of paradise, so we tried to get in all of our favorite rides.  For him that meant Splash Mountain and for me that meant Tower of Terror.  But somehow, I also somehow got picked to go on Space Mountain and Rockin' Roller Coaster ALONE.  Seven years ago this would have been out of the question and I probably would have died of fright.  Four years ago, I may not have died, but I for sure would have had a panic attack.

But as I was standing in line for Space Mountain, in March of 2011, it all came clear to me...I HAVE KIDS.  Well, yeh I knew I have had kids for 3 years.  But riding a one and a half minute long roller coaster (or so I heard the cast member tell a little girl in line who was beginning to have a slight panic attack herself) compared to having kids?  That's a cake walk!  In the past 3 (almost 4) years since having kids, I have looked fear in the face possibly too many times to count.  Sometimes I ran away before I believed that I was strong enough to face it, but I always came back, I dealt with it, and I like to think that every time I came out a better person because of it.

End of story, I got on Space Mountain and calmly sat in the very front without sweaty palms and I rode Rockin' Roller Coaster without having to take my aspirin first.
I had a great time riding two great rides and I thoroughly enjoyed the only three minutes of peace and clarity I got out of a 10 day vacation with two toddlers.

Now all of that to say- this is my blog.  You'll read a lot about the amazing guy I met 9 years ago and about the two toddlers who scare the ish out of me on a daily basis.  I'll dive into the wonders and fears of being a mom to a super intelligent, special needs three year old boy and a bubbly, over dramatic two year old little princess.  And sometimes I'll probably write about uninteresting things, too.  Sit back and enjoy.  It's been a crazy, winding road for us so far, and it's only the beginning!

PS.  This blog is definitely under construction...I promise to make it prettier within the next few weeks ;)