This past weekend, I went camping with both of my brothers and their families. When I left Friday with my girls, I knew I had a fun time ahead of me. I had informed my nieces, Mikaela and Sophia that I had jumped off of my boat at my cabin just a couple weeks earlier and they were proud of my for trying something that they knew I was scared to attempt.
A week before our camping trip, Mikaela suggested that I go down the water slide at the campground. I thought she was crazy and told her that I could not do it. "Yes you can!" she said right back to me. I reminded her that I can't swim and she quickly turned to me to say that the pool is only five feet deep. I'm deathly afraid of water and I proceeded to explain to her why that is.
When I was a little girl, I took swimming lessons and was actually a pretty good swimmer. People would comment to my mom how well I swam at such a young age. There was a BIG problem though: I could never get my feet planted on the ground after swimming. While swimming, I would raise my hand out of the water and whomever was the person in charge of me would grab me and stand me back up. So, yes, I can swim. However, I can't stand up when I'm done. I'd have to say that's kind of an important part.
After my niece listened to my explanation she informed my that her dad (my brother) could catch me when I went down the slide. I knew at that point, that this twelve year old was not going to let this go. I told her that when we got to the campground I would try and go down the slide, but I'd have to wear my life jacket. I'm telling you that I am really scared of the water.
When I got to the campground that Friday evening, my niece didn't give me much time before she asked me when I was going to go down the slide. I told her that she had to go back to the camper to get my life jacket and by the time she got back, my beer would be gone and I would do it, just to get it over with.
Mikaela quickly returned with my life vest. I put it on and looked out at all the people vacationing at the pool. I told her that I didn't care what they all thought of me, even though I'm pretty sure they thought it was odd that a 35 year old woman was wearing a life jacket. Next, I told her that she would have to go up the ladder behind me, because if I chicken out she would need to just push me down the slide. She said she could do that for me. As for my brother, he stood in the pool at the base of the slide waiting to catch me as though I was three years old.
As I climbed the ladder, I could feel butterflies in my stomach. I know it's silly to have felt this way, but I couldn't help it. I was trying this for the first time because I was NEVER able to do it as a child. There is no way my muscles could have handled the sudden movement going down the slide not to mention how nearly impossible it would have been for me to get up the laddert in front of all of those people. My bottom had barely touched the slide when Mikaela gave me a good strong push. I quickly found myself flying down the slide doing something impossible. Mikaela never gave me the chance to chicken out and I'm thankful for that. She helped me face my fear. And even though I didn't think it was fun, I'm really glad that I did it.
I should probably add that as soon as I got out of the pool, Mikaela insisted that I go down the bigger slide that is also an enclosed tube. I was even more scared to do that, but I did it with the support of family. Life is too short to not take chances and face our fears. This is something that I will remember for ever and I think my niece will too.
After living the first 33 years of my life thinking I had Spastic Diplegia, a form of Cerebal Palsey, I was correctly diagnosed with Dopa Responsive Dystonia (DRD). I am on new medication and doing things that I never imagined possible. This has changed the lives of my husband and two daughters. I truly believe that I am living a miracle each and every day. Life can't get any better than this!