Unexpected Benefits from a Tandem Skydiving Gift . . .
For Christmas this past year my son-in-law, Robert, gave me the gift of a tandem skydive. Always the adventurist, I was delighted. Scared, but delighted. It would be a brand new experience with a couple unexpected benefits.
My daughter, Melissa, and I drove out to the jump field. Always the supporter, she got up early to join me and share the experience. It seems no matter what crazy idea or scheme I come up with, she is without fail my biggest cheerleader. In fact, the night before I mentioned she might want to join me if they had an opening and she agreed (however, I could tell she didn’t have the passion in her heart, just the love for me!). I also knew that she would go with me because that’s the kind of daughter she is.
Benefit #1: Having someone who fully supports your adventures, who never encourages you to be cautious (just safe), and readily jumps aboard your moving train is a blessing known by few. I am humbled and grateful that I call her my daughter.
It was a cold morning, with a high in the 30’s and a nice brisk breeze. We were the first to arrive and sure enough they had an opening and could take us both together on the first flight. We signed our waivers (they tell you all the different ways you can die and you tell them you are okay with that and will not hold them responsible!). We met our tandem jump mates. Randy would jump with me, Angelo would jump with Melissa. Randy would train us, which consisted of a 5 minute list of instructions and strapping us into our harnesses. Randy’s passion for what he was doing and his joy in the experience was a reminder of how important it is to celebrate what we love in a way that others can see and feel it. Randy made certain of that and, while we continued forward with a healthy dose of fear, we were excited because he was excited to share this jump with us.
Benefit #2: Doing anything WITH someone who is joyous and passionate is a reminder of the reason we celebrate life together.
Once we jumped from the plane and pulled our parachute, we coasted in the silence overlooking the earth below. Randy continued to openly share his thoughts and feelings about the wonder of being high above the ground, cascading slowly in the silence of the sky, and looking out over the wondrous place we call earth. He laughed with me, he encouraged me to open my eyes wide and take it all in, and he marveled at the beauty of the silence as we moved with the wind high above the ground.
The morning was incredible. In just a very very short time we had completed an awesome adventure together. I repeat, awesome! Thomas, Melissa’s middle son, says that we have started a tradition. From here forward, Melissa is responsible for taking Michael, her daughter, skydiving for the first time, and Michaela will in turn take her daughters for a skydive as well. Nice to know the adventures will continue for generations to come.
Happy adventures one and all.