At times, Serena has – by far – been the most nervous and anxious of our kids. Worried about world wars, the deaths of loved ones, stopped elevators, car crashes on the side of the freeway, helicopters buzzing overhead… In the past, I’ve wondered how she’ll survive in the “real world” if she has so many hesitations.
And yet, her greatest wish for her 10th birthday was to go ziplining. Even as I typed up the registration online and keyed in my credit card number, I asked her, “You’re sure about this? It’s a long way to go… are you sure this is what you wanna do?” She assured me she did, so I shrugged my shoulders and took a leap of faith…
It took about an hour from check-in to the mountain, and then another half hour or so up to the 1st zip. We were in a group with three newlywed couples, a couple that had been married for 35 years and a young college girl who was celebrating her 21st birthday. All harnessed in and helmeted, I asked Serena again. “You sure?” This time, she only nodded, eyes on the mountain.
When we were next in line, I said, “You want me to go first?”
She shook her head. “No, I’ll go.” And then they strapped her in and off she zipped, like she’d been doing it for years, and her landing was so graceful the guides nicknamed her “Tinkerbelle.”
We did 8 zips in all, each a little longer or more interesting than the one before, each one leaping over a lush valley of guava trees, wild boars, mongoose (mongeese?) and birds, everything tucked into the red dirt of Maui.
Serena was brave and happy and excited and fun to watch. After all was said and done, I wondered if maybe her anxieties about the fearful things in the world were simply those things beyond her control – fears like the ones that we all have, even as grown-ups – but somehow, up in the air above the valley floor of that Maui canyon, she found a peacefulness and a control of her own.