independence · OBSERVATIONS · slice of life

Letting Go (and not having a heart attack)

Enjoying a kiddie ride WITH Isabelle.
Enjoying a kiddie ride WITH Isabelle.

The last time I was in Hershey Park it was 95F+ and humid.  I was miserable pushing your stroller up and down the hills.  In fact, I vowed I wouldn’t go back ’til Isabelle was three or four.

That was two years ago.

Yesterday rolled around and we were considering what to do today.  The weather forecast predicted sun and temps in the low 70′s.  Too cool for the pool, but just right for Hershey Park.  I suggested Marc.  We pondered the idea of doing something more relevant to Memorial Day (e.g., a parade), but couldn’t find anything local.  Therefore, we decided to go to Hershey Park so long as Isabelle woke up in a good mood.

And you did.

So we went.

We stayed for four hours and had a great time.  Our time there was book-ended with carousel rides, which Isabelle seemed to love as much as I do.

But, about three rides in we learned HELICOPTERS is a “children’s only” ride.  I nearly had a heart attack when I watched my husband get up from the mini chopper, strap Isabelle in with the help of the ride operator, and walk away.  I turned to the lady beside me, “I think I’m going to have a heart attack.  That’s my two year-old on the ride by herself.”

She pointed to her four or five year-old daughter who was strapped into a mini helicopter in front of us.  “The first time you let them go it’s always scary.  But they’re always fine.”

That’s kind of a metaphor for parenting, isn’t it?

And Isabelle was fine and so was I.  In fact, she was better than fine.  She smiled as the helicopters spun around.  She waved to us as we took pictures of her sitting by herself.  Plus, I didn’t have a heart attack!  (That would’ve been a crummy way to end our time at Hershey Park!)

While Isabelle must’ve relished the freedom of riding on some of the rides by herself, she was also delighted to have us ride alongside her on many of the other rides.  Truth be told, even though I delighted in watching her bravely go on rides by herself, I was pleased she still wanted dear ol’ mom and dad to ride next to her too.

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13 thoughts on “Letting Go (and not having a heart attack)

  1. “The first time you let them go it’s always scary. But they’re always fine.”

    Yes, it is scary, and yes they are fine. At least I hope so.
    My daughter turned 18 last month. A week ago today she flew from Pennsylvania to California to spend the summer.
    You were VERY brave mom. You spend the first two years teaching them to be brave and the rest of your life letting them be.
    xo
    Pamela

  2. How fun that you got to go to Hershey Park-and special that you’ll always remember her first day riding the rides with and without you! I wish we had a park like this near us!
    It is scary to watch them go away from you! It feels like your heart is going to pound out of your chest! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
    But then it’s all good…glad it went well!

  3. Oh my goodness, what a new experience for you all, and she did just great! It is tough to let go; I did my trip last week with the tens and elevens and even then, some parents lingered, saying goodbye. Their kids did great, parents had a harder time. Glad it was a very good day, Stacey!

  4. It’s so very tricky to put them on that ride for the first time. Your story reminds me of taking my daughters to the kids’ amusement park years ago. Lots of heart-pounding moments!

  5. What a fun day! Your little Isabelle is a lucky little girl to have parents willing to let her ‘try her wings’ and experience the joy of a ride on her own…and also getting to smile and wave at her parents. Glad the weather was cooperating and that you had a great day at the park. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

  6. Great quote…and so very true. And I love your last paragraph – Isabelle loved being with you and doing things together, but she also liked riding on her own. That’s the ideal balance we seek in our chilren – we need them to need us, but we want them to develop confidence and independence so they can flourish. It looks as though Isabelle is there already!

  7. Stacy, this post is so timely for me! We were at a carnival this weekend, and my husband put my 3 yr old on a tiny roller coaster by herself, and I stood there and cried and cried! I was terrified! I kept thinking about that quote you posted several weeks ago – about how having a child is like having your heart walk around outside your body! I’m so glad to know you felt the same way as me!!

  8. What a sense of independence Isabelle must have had as she zoomed through the sky in her helicopter. It is so hard to let go, but so important to allow them to take those steps on their own.

  9. Such a sweet milestone! I’m glad you were eventually able to enjoy letting her go a little. Your voice is so strong and entertaining as you tell this story!

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