Recently our son turned eighteen, and for the last year or two he has talked about sky diving. I have had an interest int he same thing, so I agreed to going with him right after he was of legal age to do so, and Saturday was that day for us. We drove three hours away to meet a team of young men who work out of a van and an old school bus, details that didn’t make my guy feel better. It’s so interesting to me how this next generation finds ways to do things differently; they have a completely mobile operation that allows them to do business anywhere at all. The owner of the company said that in October he shuts it down and goes to Hawaii for the winter months. Not a bad idea.
After signing our lives away and agreeing not to sue no matter the outcome, we were suited up in harnesses and given a quick rundown of do’s and don’ts, make sure you do this and never do that. At least, my son was. I was passively listening because my turn would be next, but then my tandem guy just came over and checked my harness and said, “One rule – have fun!”. And then we were loading into a very small airplane. No real information on how to leave the plane, either. Awesome.
We climbed to 12,500 feet, the door opened and air and sound filled the plane. My son exited the canister without a second’s hesitation. From the ground you would think that the second jumper is hovering at the door, counting to a certain number before hurtling through space, but the instant Coleman disappeared I was being pushed to the opening and immediately flipping out of the aircraft. Apparently time moves differently in higher altitudes.
Honestly I don’t remember a great deal about the freefall, my guy said we fell for a count of 20, and I think it took me that long to get my bearings. The parachute opened and it became a gentle, quiet trip to the earth. I do remember my tandem partner pointing out a hawk below us, which was really cool for me because hawks are a symbol for me that everything’s going to be all right. Seeing the bird before the whole thing probably would have been better for me, but I will take a hawk whenever I can get one. The landing was no big deal because we were skydiving with experts, and they did all the work.
Once safely on the ground I realized a few things; I probably won’t skydive many more times in my life, if ever again and marking a big item off my bucket list is a lot more fun when you do it with someone you love. Happy birthday, Coleman!