They aren't terribly subtle folks. They can be a bit loud and a bit opinionated. But they can also can be very supportive. When 2 of my nieces decided to try the zip lines, they all turned out en mass, whooping and cheering them on as they climbed up and zipped across the to the other side of of the pond. Somewhere, out in the Atlantic, baby dolphins may have heard them and been encouraged to rise to the surface to get their first puff of air. My nieces, reared all their lives in this boisterous environment, drank in the adulation.
I'm not sure if I actually said anything or if my husband noticed the look of skepticism mixed with curiosity on my face. Unlike the rest of his family, he knows there are times where a quiet sentence said at the right time trumps a legion of cheering. He just looked at me and said, "You know, for someone who seems to like to link herself to kestrels and other sorts of airy creatures, this is probably as close to flying as you are going to get."
I hate it when he's right.
I was never a daredevil as a kid. A huge part of that was my mother's doing, who was doing helicopter parenting before it was "in". I had very little trust in my body to respond in any sort of coordinated, physical way until a lot later in life, and even then, there has to be music involved or I'm pretty much a klutz. That seemed like a really long climb to the top of just the little zip line. And I wasn't sure I was ready to throw myself off a perfectly good platform, even if I had seen kindergarteners and senior citizens doing it and surviving just moments before. But the hubby knew pretty much the only argument that would make me even consider it. So I quietly said, "Fine, but this is the deal. Just you gets to see, no giant horde of relatives." He nodded.
I'm still not entirely able to verbalize exactly why I didn't want everyone there. A decent part of it involves my pride to be sure. I knew I wasn't going to be anywhere as slick as my triathlete brother-in-law or even my giddy nieces when I went on. I didn't want an audience for that. There is also something that just personally makes me feel kind of twitchy about over-zealous cheering over something small children can do without too much of a fuss over it. I carefully planned out the perfect time to go - there was actually no one waiting ahead of me to go on when I went over - and after saying a quick prayer to offer up this small act of fear conquering to honor my deities, I began the climb up. The climbing really did stink, and all my old baggage about being the smallest and weakest kid in my gym class hit me every time I raised another sweaty hand to pull myself up just a bit further or I raised another shaking leg to another foothold and push myself up. I was very, very far from smooth or even just calm when I got to the top of that platform. The camp councilor was supremely patient with me even though it took me a minute to convince myself the equipment could bear my weight (which is silly - I'm fairly petite). I finally was convinced everything was OK and motioned for her to let go.
It was one of the most awesome experiences of my life. The second time I did it (I pretty much ran back to get on line when I was done) was even better than the first. The next day I tried the big zip line and that climb was really bad - but it was a long trip on the zip line and that made it totally worth it, even though I reek of Icy Hot this morning. I've told my husband that next vacation we need to have access to a zip line, and that I want to hit the local rock gym so that climb won't be quite as awful. The hubby was right - it was just like flying. And everyone deserves a chance to fly, right?