Today was Parent of The Year Day at Sea World. This is the day on which parents of small children are cordially invited to drive over an hour and half away to plunk down ’round about $200 to endure heat, cranky children, sticky fingers, germs galore and lots of shrieking, complaining, frantic “oh God where did he go?” moments, and in the end, make lots of priceless memories.
Okay, really, they didn’t set aside a special day for that, but you kinda get the feeling that every day should be Parent of the Year Day at Sea World.
We have put off this little initiation into full-fledged parenthood (the keep up with 3 kids at a theme park scramble) for years now, but, since our cousins were going, and since my boys have, regrettably, seen the commercials and decided their lives wouldn’t be complete if they didn’t “experience the magic”, we bit the bullet and headed to San Antonio.
The Shamu show was so cool it actually made me shed a tear or two. The height of dorky, I know, but give me a break. My kids were seeing a flipping WHALE for the first time, and the trainer gave a speech about how as a girl she’d always wanted to have a marine mammal for a best friend, and now she had finally realized her dream. Who wouldn’t cry at that? Okay, no one else cried.
The dolphin show was evidence that synchronized swimmers do, indeed, go on to great things after the Olympics. Only kidding. I know talent when I see it. And since I still hold my nose when I dive under, there’s really no way I could ever come close to accomplishing all that spinning and head standing, let alone the synchronizing.
After the dolphins, and just about the time we began to seriously sweat, the heavens opened and dumped buckets of rain on us. So we all ate greasy pizza under an umbrella, as one is want to do in a downpour.
Afterwards, my oldest boy wanted to ride the roller coaster with his 9 year old cousin Ben. Uh huh, sure, we can do that. In fact, how better to follow up greasy pizza than a stomach lurching ride?
The whole time in line, I kept telling him, “It’s goes really high. Scary high. Scary fast too. You don’t have to do this.” But the kid showed not one single shred of concern. So, I thought, well, I didn’t want to inflict my own fears and reservations on him. I’d just go with it.
All the way up the slow ascent of the first hill, he grinned. He wasn’t even holding on. He was happily marveling at the view. Poor kid.
We went over the top at the speed of sound, down and up, down and up, around a sharp curve. My stomach was in between my ears.
I turned around to see how my boy was faring, and he was WHITE, bent and wrapped completely around the lap bar with both arms, panic-stricken and holding on for all he’s worth. I felt like the worst mother on the planet for not telling him that he absolutly could not go on that ride. That’ll teach me to step aside and let him be tough with out his chicken-livered mama squashing his man-ness. Next time, I’m squashing.
When we got off he said he was glad he did it, and it was, “SO FUN!… but I don’t want to do it again.” 🙂
Lots more junk food, lots more rides, lots of skin crackling, heat-exhausted hallucinations involving Currier and Ives winter scenes.
Then some chillin at the waterpark, where we learned that hard rain (part deux) feels like needles on sun-baked skin!
Here is what else I learned from our day:
1. We all, at some time or other, fall prey to the wiles of the Anheuser Busch marketing staff.
2. There is no end to what a parent will do, and would be willing to do all over again, to see a certain look of awe on her kids’ faces.
3. There should be badges, at the very least, awarded to parents for this kind of stuff. Really, I think that would help lend an overall sense of accomplishment to the whole experience.