Saturday, my little girl turned 10 years old. At 8:37 AM, officially. By that point we were halfway through our 3 hour drive to go river rafting. My mom and I spent the drive sipping coffee, chatting, and gossiping as women do, while Emily spent it in the backseat designing a treehouse.
We arrived shortly before 10, snapped a couple of pics with the "real" camera, the one that is not waterproof and is staying in the car.
We made our way down to the meet and greet and were introduced to our guide, Ned. Ned who told us that contrary to what we had been informed, we did not need and would not be wearing wetsuits. Yeah but Ned, I don't think you understand fully!
I was TOLD I would be wearing a wetsuit which is why I only wore a bikini and cotton sweats.
Nah, not necessary, just go put your sweats in the car and come on down for the safety talk.
So it was a lesson in humility for me, to come walking into a group of people all wearing quick drying shorts and poly-water resistant tops, a group that is waiting for YOU so they can begin the safety lecture, while wearing only a skimpy bikini and tennis shoes.
I sat with confidence and Ned says to me "ok, I'll get you a wetsuit"
My "wetsuit" turned out to be a fluffy orange fleece sweatshirt. Redheads look MARVELOUS in bright orange, so too bad for you all the waterproof camera pictures haven't been developed yet, and you don't get to see.
After our safety talk, we got sunscreened and suited up. Both Em and I had long sleeved tops on, so we just did our faces, hands, ears, etc... but skipped the legs, because Emily never sunburns, especially on her legs, and I wanted some tan on mine.
We strapped into our lifejackets and the guides took turns lifting Emily off the ground by hers. She's so little, it's kind of irresistable, but I think she was getting a bit perturbed.
There were 4 boats in all, but ours only had our party of 3, plus 2 guides.
We paddled the first half of the river with little fanfare. The weather was beautiful, we snapped pics, chatted, took a couple smaller rapids, and worked up an appetite.
We stopped for lunch and everyone sang Happy Birthday to Emily. We stuffed ourselves, examined the progress on our tans, and got pumped up for the second half.
About an hour in, we hit a pretty big rapid, and I paddle hard, take a wave in the face, and then glance to my right just in time to see my mom's legs go over the side of the boat. I immediately look to the right to be sure my 50 pound daughter is still where she should be, then back to the front, where my mom has assumed the correct feet up position and is calmly floating down the river.
Emily however is totally losing her shit over here. Dropped her paddle, is half sitting, half standing and is screaming her head off.
Now I imagine it's pretty scary to be 10 years old and watch your grandma fall out
of a boat and float away, but I have little tolerance for panic in a crisis, and I was now the only paddler in the front of the boat, the guides were yelling, the rapids were roaring and we had to go fish my mom out of the river, so I was like "EMILY, SIT DOWN AND CHILL!"
We paddled our butts off and the guides pulled my mom back in, minus her glasses, just as we were approaching another good size rapid. Emily alerted us to that fact with a blood curdling scream, so we got through it just fine.
Emily decided she was done with rafting and spent the remainder of the trip in the middle of the boat holding on, but my mom and I had a blast paddling through the rest of the river. We laughed a lot and I teased her a good bit about taking a swim...."Don't you know it's OVER the river to grandma's house, not IN the river" Hahaha, but she got me back on the last rapid, where she almost went in again, let go of the end of her paddle and whacked me in the cheek with it.
OK, OW, I was just kidding!
We spent the last half hour getting towed up the river by a jet ski, relaxing, taking in the scenery and reflecting back on the day. By the time we were dry and viewing our pictures on a slideshow, Emily was smiling again.
It was a great day, full of excitement and adventure, and I would love to have stayed and gone again, but we were pretty exhausted and besides, Emily and I needed to get home and nurse our sunburned legs.
5 days ago