“I do”…the best two words I ever said.
Each year my husband and I make a point to do something special for our wedding anniversary, but last year we set the bar really high. We celebrated with a trip to Paris. Holding hands walking down the Champs-Élysées, kissing on the Eiffel Tower, clicking wine glasses at quaint little cafes…it was the definition of romance. For a few days, the two of us felt like we were in our own little world. No kids. No worries. Not a bad way to celebrate your anniversary, let me tell you.
Like many, visiting the City of Love was something I always dreamed of doing; it was near the top of my bucket list…and trust me, it did not disappoint.
I remember thinking, “I wonder what we’re going to do next year to top THIS.”
Well, fast forward a year and it was time to start thinking about our anniversary. With crazy schedules and a limited budget, I knew another European vacation wasn’t going to be in the cards for us this year. However, we did come up with another idea to mark our half a dozen years of wedded bliss.
Granted, our plan wasn’t as grand as seeing the Mona Lisa, but it was something that I always wanted to do…another bucket list item that I’d be able to cross off my list with my husband.
It was time for us to go zip lining.
A glimpse into our future…
I had been looking forward to this little adventure for weeks, but for some reason the day we were scheduled to go something happened: I got scared. “Isn’t it a little too late to be feeling nervous?” my husband asked as we drove to the camp. I hate when he’s right.
He tried to make me feel better. Our conversation went something like this…
Hubs: Relax–what’s the worst that can happen?
Me: I don’t know…could I fall or get stuck on a line?
Hubs: Yeah, probably.
Me: Awesome. I feel much better now. Because you know, if that could happen to ANYONE, it will be ME.
Hubs: Yeah…I agree.
We go and check in and find out that we’d be zipping with a family–a mom and dad who have been married for 27 years with their 18 year old son and 16 year old daughter. I couldn’t help but smile…it was like looking into our future, imaging my husband and I more than a decade from now having these adventures not only together, but with our kids.
We got our gear on and made our way to the first platform and it happened again: Fear. I looked off in distance and saw the long line that separated where we were currently standing from where we soon would be. We were only up about 200 feet, but in that moment we might as well have been on top of Mount Everest.
My husband was up first. Of course he looks likes he’s done this a million times and makes it seem very easy. I was next in line. Once I got in position, the tour guide counted down for me: “One…two…three!”
I knew that was my cue to go; but my body wasn’t ready. I froze. Let’s just say if anyone was counting, they probably would have gotten to about 10 before I was ready to push off the platform…but eventually I did.
It felt like I was flying. It was awesome.
We were scheduled to do 9 lines total. After the first, my confidence was up–why was I so nervous?
If laughter is the key to a happy marriage…
Then it happened.
We got to the 2nd line and just like the previous one, my husband went first and made it look like easiest thing in the world. Then it was my turn.
Before I go on, I need to quickly explain 2 quick things…
1. I am crazy about pictures. I love taking them. I love looking at them. I will turn into a crazy woman to make sure I get them (you should watch me trying to get pictures of my kids). And I couldn’t wait to have a picture of me zip lining on my anniversary.
2. On “shorter” zip lines, the actual zipping is pretty easy–there’s only a few things you need to remember: 1. Make sure you hold the grip correctly. 2. Make sure you keep it straight so you don’t turn and once you reach the other side. And 3. Make sure you keep walking up on the platform. Easy, right?
Back to the story…
The tour guide told us on the 2nd line that he’d be taking pictures of us. Yea! I was going to make sure I was going to get a great photo!
There I was zipping along…smiling…so proud that I overcame all my nervousness…having so much fun. Then I heard the tour guide on the other side yell, “Awesome! I got a great picture of you!” My feet hit the platform and for some reason in my excitement and happiness about my picture, my feet froze. They totally stopped. I think in my mind, I thought I was done…but I wasn’t. Instead, I realized I wasn’t completely up on the platform and the ropes started pulling me backwards. And it just kept going.
Yep…it pulled me all the way back to the center of the line. It was almost comical thinking back to the conversation my husband and I had just an hour earlier. Like I said, if it was going to happen to ANYONE it would be ME. And it was.
I hung there, dangling on the line for a couple of minutes; our tour guide had to come and basically rescue me by pulling me back to the other side. I was trying to make myself feel better…”Does this happen a lot?” The tour guide smiled with his response, “On the longer lines, yes–it happens. On shorter lines like this though…not really. Let’s just say it like this…I’ll remember you.” That’s me–always leaving an impression.
Meanwhile, the hubs can hardly control his laughter. Something tells me that I will be reminded about this moment for years to come. After all, he loves talking about the awesome job I did with our first dance at our wedding reception every time the two of us are on a dance floor. (All out of love, I assure you.) But here’s the thing: just like our first dance, it was my “mis-step” that helped to make this a memory that we won’t forget. I predict that decades from now, when we become that family zip lining with our older kids, my husband and I will crack up telling them this story. And I love that. Yes, sometimes it’s life’s little “mistakes” that turn out to be the best gifts.
Luckily that was the only time I ended up totally embarrassing myself that day. I finally “got the hang” of it and loved every second. Our longest line was over 1,450 feet long; standing at the first platform, you couldn’t even see where you’re going to land. We zipped over the little Miami River, over people in canoes below. I “cannon balled” over trees and ravines, reaching over 50 miles per hour. For three hours we were in the woods and just like in Paris, it felt like we were in our own little world.
I loved spending time in Paris (and would go back in a heartbeat), but there’s one thing I know: When you’re with someone who you love, it doesn’t matter WHERE you are…as long as you’re together. Marriage is definitely an adventure. I know I’m lucky to have a husband who will be there, ready to catch me if I fall…even if he will laugh with me once he knows I’m safe.
And I’ve already started thinking…how are we going to celebrate our anniversary next year?