In January of last year, my mom was in a very serious car accident. The state trooper on the scene told us it was a miracle she was alive. After that day, both my mom and I knew that we could not keep putting off the experiences we always wanted to do together.
Those who know me well know that I tend to be a cautious person. Typically, I stay in my comfort zone.
I thought: What better way to get out of my comfort zone and celebrate life than to jump out of a plane on my birthday with my mom?! Skydiving was something we always talked about doing, after all. My mom, who has always been the life of the party, was quick to say yes. My husband even agreed to do it along with us, which I was very surprised about because he has a tendency to get really nervous. Before I went, I spent a bunch of time looking at videos and checking out the Piedmont Skydiving YouTube page, looking at tandem after tandem and imagining myself in their place.
Finally, the day arrived: July 16th. I surprised myself by offering to go first--but I got really nervous when I got into the airplane. I wasn’t used to airplanes being so small. Mom and I climbed in with our instructors, and I knew it was really happening.
The ride up to 10,000 feet together is something I'll never forget. As we started to go higher and higher, it was so cool to just look down and see the view. The instructors were wonderful! We were laughing the whole time. It was so cool to share that with my mom.
When my instructor opened the plane door and told me to put my foot on the little step right outside it, I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest. After that, I don’t remember anything until we were in freefall. I’ve racked my brain for it, but I don’t actually remember getting out! I’m glad I had the video to watch for that.
My eyes filled with tears of sheer happiness when I realized I was actually flying in the air. It was such a powerful experience sharing the indescribable feeling of freefalling, cheering each other on, and my absolute favorite part: seeing my mom in the sky with me, and yelling "Hi, Mom!!" while we were both sailing down in our parachutes.
If I’m being honest, I was more nervous about the landing than the flight. I shouldn’t have been! It was really smooth. Right after we landed, my mom and I rushed over to each other to celebrate. We were so proud to have done that together. Flying with her was the best birthday gift I could've ever received.
All of us--including my nervous husband--love it, and would do it again in a minute. It was the best memory for us to share. In fact, my husband and I are going again soon--we’ve been married two years now, and we’re planning on making a jump in Hawaii before we have kids.
If you’re thinking about tandem skydiving, stop thinking and just go. Definitely do it. Don’t let your fear of the actual jump get in the way.