Ever since we have been married (28 years), Robby and I have taken a summer, family vacation. As each child was added to our brood, we continued this tradition and even now, as our family has expanded, we still plan a family trip each year. There have been some places we have visited more than once, because they are considered a "favorite", but generally we try to visit new places and experience new adventures each year. One such adventure, however, I do not ever care to experience again.
I suppose the children were around the ages of 5, 7, 9 and 11 when we took our first...and last white water rafting trip. Let me first begin by saying that there are a few things that I do NOT like to do. And I am not too proud to admit that I don't like doing these things because of fear. Fear is a very powerful thing. The adrenaline starts flowing and then your heart begins to race and before your know it, you become paralyzed by it. Am I being a bit melodramatic? OK...so, I just usually don't participate in these activities because I'm not a believer in "submersion therapy"; the more I do it, the more afraid I become...thus, hating it more. So, while vacationing in the mountains one year, when the topic of white water rafting came up, I immediately balked at the idea. And I must say, that I usually get my way whenever I say I don't want to participate in certain activities. BUT, on this occasion, Robby wasn't budging. He stated that we were going to have a "fun family adventure"...(RIGHT...fun for WHO?)
We signed up for this little adventure and then were required to go to a white water rafting orientation before we would be allowed to embark upon the adventure. Now, I was wondering...orientation for a "fun family adventure?" How "fun" could THAT be? Upon arriving at this "orientation", at an open air shed, we were each given a helmet, life jacket and and oar...OH, and some very serious and troublesome instructions. OK now, any activity that has "serious instructions" CANNOT be "fun"! So, as the guide was regaling us with these details, I was catching eye contact with Robby and shaking my head "no"..."I REALLY don't want to do this", I silently mouthed. He simply appeared not to notice my concern (a nice way of saying he was PURPOSELY ignoring me!)
Upon completing our instruction session, we all loaded up on a bus, dressed in our rafting gear and headed down to where we would enter the river. Looking out of the bus window, I could see the water rushing by and Caitlin looked at me beneath her over sized helmet and said, "Mama, I don't want to do this." "Me either", I replied. Well, it was inevitable...we were going down that river in a boat that didn't look sturdy enough to brave the rocks and rapids that were to come.
The one very important thing that our guide/instructor mentioned, was that most serious injuries involved with white water rafting occurred from accidents with the oars. He also brought to our attention that if you fell out of the boat, you should make sure that you popped up to float on your back....because if you got your foot hung under a rock, you'd better be able to hold your breath for a very long time, or you would drown! FUN? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! We all began to get into the boat and the first thing David did was to hit me in the head with his oar! "OH MY GOSH", I shouted..."Didn't you just hear what that man said? BE CAREFUL WITH THAT OAR!" Next, I pushed my feet firmly under the seat section as I had been told to do and then made my official announcement to any and everyone within hearing distance: "IF I FALL OUT OF THIS BOAT...HEADS ARE GOING TO ROLL!"
So, off we headed down the current filled river, fighting the rapids that were coming at us at an alarming rate of speed. I was taking this stuff seriously. And quite frankly, it was a very stressful activity. At one point, while riding over a particularly perilous rapid, Justin began to lose his balance. And in doing so, threw Robby overboard! OH NO!...OH NO!...HELP! Well, not to worry...the great big, hulking, body building guide instructed us to paddle in place while he hefted him back into the boat.
Finally, after losing my stomach many times over, the end of our adventure was in sight. Glad to have my feet on solid ground again, I exited the boat...only to find that we then had to carry it up a hill and down a path to turn it in! (Ugh) Would this "fun family adventure" EVER end?! Well, thankfully it did and I vowed to NEVER do such a thing again. After all...fun is one of those things that varies from person to person. And THIS person would be choosing a much safer "fun family adventure" from here on out.