"I want my DAAADDDDYYYYYY!"
These are the words out of my 6 year old's mouth.
I am atop a tall tower. I've climbed 200 feet worth of steps to arrive here.
There are two very steep water slides looming before me. One is only slightly less steep than the other.
Slide A is a half pipe that includes a couple gentle slurpy slopes before it drops off completely and vomits you into the mouth of hell.
Slide B begins enclosed like a watery casket and then rudely, with a wicked laugh, spits you straight down, in full view of the blistering Phoenix sun. The drop is such that you can actually taste your intestines in the back of your throat.
Which slide to choose? One hardly knows. They are equally appealing.
Both slides ensure a douche and colonic for the ages if one forgets to cross one's ankles on the decent. (Or in my case, panics and finds limbs flailing in every conceivable direction.) Refreshing, I assure you.
Maya has triple-dog-dared me to put my life in danger by slipping down Satan's slithery slide. I have accepted the challenge, like a fool.
So here you find us. Two paths diverge. Will I take the road less traveled? Will it make all the difference? Will I die today?
My heart is pounding a hole through my chest.
"Feel my heart, Bella," I say.
She puts her hand to my chest.
"Oh my gosh, Mom! You're freaking out!"
We laugh. My laughter is nervous.
"Maya, I have decided to go on that slide," I say pointing to Slide A.
"Noooooo! I don't WANT TO GO ON THAT SLIIIDE!"
"Honey, I told you I'd go on a steep slide with you. I choose THAT slide. It's less scary."
"It's MORE scary!" She begins to wail. Huge crocodile tears roll down her rosy, cherubic cheeks. "I only want to go down THAT slide!" She points to Slide B.
A man with a curly, hairy back turns to stare at us.
Fear has got the best of me. I am stern.
"NO. I am NOT going on your slide just because you are crying. NO."
"WAAAAAAHHHHHAAAAAA! I WANT MY DADDDDYYYYYY!"
"Your daddy is at the bottom of this tower waiting to film us as we go down. Quit crying."
"I WANT MY DADDDDYYYYYYY!!!!"
I want my Daddy. I WANT MY DADDY?!
That is EXACTLY what every mother wants to hear as she is sacrificing life and limb for her child. Did daddy carry the little angel in his ACTUAL BODY FOR 9 BLOODY MONTHS? DID HE FEED HER WITH HIS SWOLLEN TEATS MORNING NOON AND NIGHT FOR 578 DAYS? DID HE GET UP AND CHANGE HER DIAPERS AT 3AM FOR TWO YEARS? IS HE ATOP A 200 FOOT TOWER AWAITING IMMINENT DEATH?
I am livid.
It is ironic to be livid when one is preparing to engage in an entertaining and life threatening activity. I feel out of place. Everyone around is smiling and giddy. I am gritting my teeth and practicing deep breathing exercises.
Here's the rub. Are you ready for this? True to my pansy mother nature I say,
"OK, Maya. We will go down your slide. But I'd like you to know that you are not being a nice girl. Not nice at all."
"I want my Daddy."
"When we get down the slide your daddy will be responsible for putting you in Time-Out for 5 whole minutes while I go down more slides with the other kids."
My turn has come.
I slide. Water shoots into my every nook and crevice. My nose and mouth and eyes are inoperable. Life flashes before my blinded eyes.
I see myself scolding my 6 year old. I am very angry atop a tower. There are hairy backed men and large bikini-ed women smiling at their children. My brows are furled. I am seething. Steam rises from my angry scalp forming a dark cloud that hangs above me ominously.
I am ashamed.
I suddenly see the very temporary nature of life. Nothing lasts. My child will be six years old atop this tower for only 3 more minutes. This moment will never come again. In this moment I have failed.
I feel an outpouring of Love fill my heart. I am sorry I let Fear get the better of me. I will try harder.
Once Maya and I are both safely on the ground I hug her. I kiss her tiny face.
"I love you so much, Baby. I only want you to be happy."
Then I tattle to her daddy and she sits in Time-Out for 5 minutes while I ride more slides.
PS I later went down the scary slide of my choice.
My Bella is afraid of nothing.