How Far Will You Go to Be the Fun Mom?
My friend and I were having lunch the other day when she told me about a mom in her daughter’s kindergarten class.
“She’s the type of mom who is totally liberal and relaxed. She’s the fun mom,” she explained.
I nodded. “Right,” I said. “I have been accused of many things but fun mom was not one of them.”
But not without effort, I thought.
Last summer, my family and I were vacationing in Mallorca, Spain with some friends who had invited us to meet them at a beach we had not yet visited. The calm, inviting turquoise waters, white sand, and tropical background may have had something to do with what happens next. Or maybe it was the group of teenagers who made me do it. It’s not my proudest moment but when your parents had asked, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump also?” my answer was, apparently, yes!
I wanted to be the fun mom. After years of motherly responsibility, a part of me wanted to just let go and be unfettered again. Also, I wanted to show my daughter that it was okay to take risks. Against my husband’s better judgment, I trekked along the side of the rocky cliffs to a 30-foot landing, overlooking the Balearic Sea.
I tossed my sunglasses and flip-flops down to our friends who had been wading in the water below, I took a breath, and… then I took another breath… Looking back at the beach, I could spot my husband – our daughter gripping his hand tightly – as he filmed the whole episode with his Android. He waved. I waved back.
Look at me, I thought. The sense of adventure I once had as a single or newly married woman had faded into the background the past several years. It felt good to find it again.
“Are you sure you want to jump, mommy? Aren’t you scared?” our daughter had asked me before I head toward the cliff.
“Yes, I’m scared,” I replied. “But I’m going to face my fears and do it anyway. It will be fun! I remember jumping off diving boards as a teenager. It’s a real rush.”
And as I took a final breath, I congratulated myself for being brave enough to do something that would place me in the fun mom bucket. Way to go!
I looked down one last time and screamed as I hit the water. Though I heard a crack and felt my bathing suit ride up, the swim all the way back to shore felt both magical and exhilarating at the same time.
“Wasn’t that amazing?” my friends said. “You did it!”
I sure did. What I did not know about the sport of cliff jumping (it is a sport, indeed) is that injury can be quite dangerous, if you don’t fall correctly. There is most definitely a right way, and a wrong way, to fall.
By now, you have probably gathered that something went awry. We had another week of travel before heading back to California and during that time, I complained of dull soreness in my – ahem – bottom. A few Google searches later, I reluctantly made an appointment to get an X-ray. My fun mom decision, it turns out, led me to teach our daughter a different lesson entirely: Make sure you know the risks before trying something that could lead to injury.
The doctor notified me that I did, indeed, have a broken tailbone, or coccyx. And there was really nothing I could do about it but wait until it heals. Fortunately, bones do heal, and it only took six weeks in total before all the residual soreness subsided.
Do I regret jumping off the cliff? Of course I do. As my daughter put it, “Maybe next time you can have fun doing something safer.”
What are some (incredibly stupid) things you’ve done to prove to yourself (your kids) that you’re a fun and COOL mom? Share your stories with us!
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