Daniel has a new name for me: Missile Wifey.
Today, we spent the afternoon at Wild Waves Water Park. It was a perfect day for the event: midweek, hot as heck, and not a cloud in the sky.
In our 10 years of knowing each other, we’ve never once visited a water park together. Perhaps that was a good thing, since I’m not sure our marriage was ready for the event until this point. We discovered that water parks bring out our typical competitiveness, but with a scary thrill seeking element.
I guess our first slide should have been an indication of what was to come for the rest of the day. We didn’t bother to research the slides; we just climbed the first platform we saw and went down the one with the shortest line. Now, everybody knows that this is a dumb idea. There’s a reason that the line is short. That’s because all the smart people are in the other lines.
Dan, ever the gentleman, went down first. I dutifully followed the life guard’s instructions to lie on my back and cross my legs and my arms. I thought they were being a bit over cautious, but I figured that this water park must be sticklers for rules. But no, that wasn’t the reason. I needed to protect all my extremities by holding them against my core.
The tube was solid, and I could see no light. I took a deep breath and plunged into the darkness. Soon, I felt like I was a piece of lettuce in my salad spinner. My body sloshed up and down each of the sides of the tube as I hurled down to my eventual demise, or so I hoped. “Please God, make it stop!” I gurgled as water poured into various orifices. After what seemed like 2 hours in the washer on the spin cycle, I was eventually spit out of the torture tube into a deep pool of water. Hacking, I climbed out of the water and glared at my husband, who was also looking a little shaken, not stirred. We both agreed that it might not have been our best choice for the first ride of the day.
Next, I suggested we visit the river raft ride, which proved to be much tamer, but it did give us an occasion to play bumper tubes and race each other down to the bottom. Hours later, we’d tackled most of the park. However, there was one section that we’d somehow managed to miss.
The “Activity Pool” was designated for only “strong swimmers.” I decided that was synonymous with “fun.” So, we swam to check it out. We flew through the air on two zip lines and landed in the water with big splashes. Dan won that race by a long shot.
Next, we spotted two highly insidious looking holes in the wall, located about 6 feet above the water line. Shortly thereafter, people shot out of the holes with a loud “pop” and landed like cannonballs in the water. Dan and I both groaned, and our jaws dropped. A little girl standing next to me, barely reaching my kneecaps, assured me that “it was easy,” and we shouldn’t be afraid. Dan looked down at the little girl and back at me. “That little girl did it.” I knew another challenge when I saw one.
Timothy Egan of the New York Times described the ride in this way: “The Cannonball is a short, steep tube that spits out swimmers like peas from a straw shooter.”
It was only accessible by swimming across a 12 foot deep pool into a cavern and climbing steps to the backside of a rocky hill. At the top, a teenage lifeguard instructed us to lie on our backs, cross our legs, and support our necks with our hands (ever hear of breakneck speed?). I peered down into the narrow hole into which I was supposed to drop myself. From where I stood, I couldn’t see the bottom, nor could I see the other side of the hill, where I was supposed to shoot out, a few seconds later.
Dan volunteered to go first. I watched him throw himself into the rocky hill, and then I waited until the lifeguard told me to follow him in the same fashion.
Apparently, I’m quite aerodynamic. In something that was supposed to induce a lobbed “cannonball,” I acted more like a patriot missile and soared across the water, about 20 feet, according to our best estimates. Dan claims that I “hovered” over the water until I realized that gravity needed to be accounted for. Then, I sank like a rock.
Once I found my way back to the surface, I saw Dan at the edge of the pool, grinning from ear to ear and laughing his head off. “That was awesome! You flew! You were a missile!”
Here’s Dan’s artistic rendering of the event (he gave me permission to share it with you):
( ) – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – O–<—-<
We watched for quite awhile after that, and nobody managed to get the same amount of airtime. Most people plopped out of the hole and sank a few feet from the opening.
I don’t remember the last time Dan was so proud of his wifey. He’s been positively beaming all night. You’d think I broke the sound barrier or something. But this example illustrates some important ways we wives can please our husbands:
1. I’ve come to realize that husbands love it when we invest our time in doing something that they love to do, right along side them. Whether it’s going to an occasional baseball game or zooming down waterslides, men appreciate it when we put aside our preferences to spend time with them, in their own special way.
2. Husbands love to see us conquer our fears and grow in courage. Dan knew that the “scary hole in the wall tube slide” freaked me out, but I did it anyway. He congratulated me on overcoming my fear and doing it anyway.
3. Husbands love it when we challenge each other. Our little competitions demonstrate something that Solomon in his wisdom pointed out a long time ago: As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). We have a choice. We can drag each other down, and bring out each other’s worst, or we can rise to the occasion, and try to call out the best in each other.