Swinging into Summer Coolness

First published in the Tri-Town Transcript on Jul. 1, 2015

BOXFORD We’ve started our summer off with a heavy dose of the Giant Sparkle, our trusty (except in the winter when it’s banished ) work horse minivan. We’ve already road tripped to upstate New York, Philly, the Jersey Shore and . . . back again.

But one of the trips was a more local. Just a mere hour north lies a land that divides parents from their children in a way that even the growing tween music intrusion into our home does not.
 I speak of Canobie Lake Park.

Regular Readers may recall from my Topsfield Fair columns that I don’t really do rides. But I went with my daughter and her friends because I wanted to be a fun and adventurous Mom. I don’t want to be that Mom who only sits and drinks coffee while the kids play. I’m cool. I’m fun. I can sing along with the Top 40 hits . . . sorta . . . when the singers don’t sound whiny or desperate or generally annoying. 
For example, I knew one song well enough to suggest a modification. When, “Shut Up, and Dance With Me” came on, I said we should instead sing, “Come On, and Dance With Me”. I mean, who wants to hear a bunch of 11 year old girls singing “shut up”?? Not me. Not in my car. That’s not uncool, it’s just common decorum, right? My daughter might have bored holes into the back of my head with her stares when I suggested that, but if so, I didn’t notice.

So when we entered the park I was ready to be the Mom who did things.
“I’m going on the first ride with you!” I exclaimed gleefully.

My daughter replied. “But you hate rides. They make you sick.”

“I’m feeling great today, I’m going to rock this!” I marched past the gigantic death trap rollercoaster, Untamed, pretending I didn’t see it, and kept going to the Pirate Ship. You know that ship that swings in ever increasingly high, and nearly upside down, arcs.

My daughter shook her head. “If I do that I’m sitting in the middle.”

I laughed. “Nah! The back seat is the only seat to be in!”

My daughter refused to be swayed. So I grabbed one of her friends who had a daring glint in her eye and we headed to the back row. My daughter, comfortable in her own skin (a lesson it’s possible I taught her without necessarily internalizing it at all times), sat across from us in the middle.

“Whoohoo!!!” I cheered, laughing and getting both my daughter and her friend to laugh with me.
Wasn’t it fun, wasn’t it great!?
Then the ship began to swing. Right away I realized something was wrong. I’d done this ride before, hadn’t I? But in the past decade? Hmmm, maybe not. I was able to put my finger on the exact nature of the problem fairly quickly.
“I’m going to throw up!!!’ I yelled as we swooped towards the sky backwards.
Not cool. Not cool at all.
I reached out and grabbed the friend’s arm. “Do you think you are going to throw up!?!?”
She laughed, “No way! This is awesome!”
Right. Awesome. I was on it. Totally awesome.
I looked across at my daughter who was not looking nauseous at all in her middle seat, she was laughing and waving. Why was she waving? Why weren’t her hands firmly on the railing??
I yelled across the ship as I swung way up and directly over her. “I may throw up on you!!”
Again, points for coolness? Perhaps not.
She laughed and her friend next to me waved back at her. We were basically in space, we were almost astronauts, and they were waving!? Finally the ship slowed. I sat stunned. I was trembling from the effort of not dying. I couldn’t do rides.
I was that Mom.
My advice to myself, or other moms in the future who claim they can handle the rides? Shut up, er, come on, and drink coffee with me.