Monday, August 11, 2014

Driving a van, down by the Gina Waite

Have you ever been driving with the window down, wind blowing through your hair, your favorite song blaring from your radio, and been completely transported back to the days and feelings of your youth?  You know what I'm talkin' about...that feeling of being young, alive and incredibly cool!  Then, as you look in your rear-view mirror, you see several pair of eyes (you know the ones that look an awful lot like your own) looking back at you with an increased sense of intrigue!  It's at this point that your mind's eye view of yourself changes from adventurous, Jeep-driving, "Lara-Croft-type," to the reality that you're a Mom...driving a VAN...down by the river!  Well I'm here to tell you that being a "Lara-Croft-type" AND driving a van...down by the river, can be synonymous!  I would know...because I had the BEST example of it in my very own Mother!

My Mom...the BEST and most DARING of women...had an appetite for fun and adventure!  The woman kept binoculars in a kitchen drawer, right next to the Ornithological handbook that came in handy in her early morning, bird-watching hours!  She had an iron will...if my Mom wanted to do something…she would NOT stop until she had accomplished it (watched her teach herself how to wire and balance a ceiling fan to perfection!)  ...but one of the things that still impresses me most about her, was her willingness to go on Amusement Park Rides without any hesitation!  This, followed by her unceasing encouragement for ALL of us to join her, was just one reason she was the life of the party!

As you may recall, my brother Jim wrote an article about his Lagoon Amusement Park “Skycoaster” ride experience with my Mom!  She encouraged us ALL to go on that Bungee-jump-inspired ride that day ... and without hesitation, she stepped right up and volunteered to ride with her sons!  My Mom's "ride" encouragement did not stop with her Children!  Ever the adventurer, my Mom once accompanied my son on a death-defying ride at The Boise State Fair!  An experience, she herself, wrote about but didn't realize I had taken photographs of the whole affair! 

 My son, giddy with amusement park enthusiasm, ran to the most death-defying, head-ache-inducing, ride he could find!  Happy to be standing in line for the ride, my son started waving his arms to acknowledge me to come and stand next to him.  “Come on Mom…it will be really fun…I promise!”  My only hesitation at that moment was my daughter’s scared concern at the idea of being forced to go on the ride with us!  I looked at my son and delivered the blow, “Bud, I can’t ride with you as I've got to stay here with sissy!”  It broke my heart to say “no,” but the idea of my six-year-old daughter standing by the ride "exit" gate by herself, was much worse than foregoing the ride with my son.  About the time the ride gate opened to let the willing participants in…my parents caught up with us as they had been detained while helping my little nephew on the carousel.  

“Mom, Jordan wants to go on the ride with me, but I need to stay here with Paris OR if you could stay with Paris I'll go on the ride with Jordan?”  What followed was a comment that we ALL have heard my Mom say numerous times in her life, “Well, I’ll go on the ride with him!”  I blinked and said, “Mom, why don’t you stay with Paris and I’ll go on the ride with Jordan!”    The ride entrance gates, still opened, with an eager attendant ready to start the ride up and my son shouting, “Yes!!!!  Come on Grandma…come go with me!”

I will NEVER forget the look of joy on my son’s face when his Grandmother briskly walked up to where he stood to enter the ride with him!  Priceless were the expressions of both my Mom, and my son, as the ride’s giant hammer-shaped cars started swinging in pendulum-style...opposite of each other...only to stop upside down and reverse directions!  As the ride was in motion, I could only identify shoes and screams but as the ride slowed down and came to controlled stop, I noticed that my Mom had grabbed her grandson's hand and they were laughing together!  Like so many adventurous experiences with my Mom…I stood there realizing that the example I had in my own Mother had taught me that there is nothing more to keep a person more alive, adventurous and incredibly cool…as being a Mom...driving a van...down by the river!

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