Skydiving Souvenir

Becoming a mother is like being dropped from a small aircraft into the ocean from 12000 feet. You prepare for it by putting on a parachute and a life jacket, but when you hold up your ticket with two pink lines, board the plane and take off, you’re struck with horrible air sickness. What were you thinking? Then the plane hits some altitude and you cruise for a while enjoying the ride. But fear strikes again as you near the point of departure. That first leap – the squeezing tightness in your belly – there’s no turning back. You get a surge of adrenaline and fear and joy and craziness. When the parachute opens you begin to enjoy the ride down. But not for long. You begin to spin, to flail, to realize how quickly the ocean is approaching, and with great pain you and the ocean collide. You take a gasp of air and hold your breath. This is it, the moment of becoming. Push through! Under the water you are rolled and swayed dizzy. Your arms find a soft object and hug it close. Finally you struggle to the surface where you realize, for the first time, that the life jacket you carefully packed along does not fit you at all but it’s just the perfect size for the seven-pound person you found there under the ocean and dragged with you up to the wave-tossed top.

And there you are, treading water in the middle of a vast sea. It’s very disorienting, the constant buffeting of the waves, endless straining, incessant protection of that precious gift you hold. But in time, as days and weeks pass, you find you are able to swim with increasing skill, guard with greater confidence, and navigate with clearer direction. Eventually your feet find solid ground and you emerge bedraggled on the shore. Gazing down again at the perfect souvenir of your skydiving adventure cradled carefully in your arms, you know it was worth it, and you will never be the same.

Happy Mother’s Day to women everywhere who have taken that leap, that drenching plunge into motherhood!

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