I have a massive fear of heights. Balconies, escalators, escalators in heels!!!!!, a bosu ball at the gym (which doesn't qualify an actual height), you name it. I don't know when this developed. I loved skiing as a kid, but have zero desire to ever see my kids on a chair lift. Dangling hundreds of feet in the air on a bench?? No thanks. This day was funny since our entire family drove three hours to go rappelling in the Israeli Negev desert (I'm not sure why we assumed this plan would be seen to fruition), and as soon as we got off the bus we were all like Um...
I was really upset with myself since I had vowed to try to overcome my fear of heights. Perhaps a MOUNTAIN wasn't the right starting point, but I had the best intentions. I told my brother in law LL how disappointed I was in myself. His answer was great, from a textbook Jew of Eastern European descent. My kinda guy. He said,
"I will never feel bad about not hurling myself off a cliff. Our people have suffered enough. We don't need to look for any more trouble."
Point taken. But I was still bummed out. After we then braved the wilds of the petting zoo at the alpaca farm we next visited (some of those alpacas were feisty bitches), it was time for sand surfing. Which is sledding on sand. You CANNOT get hurt. But being that most phobias are irrational, cognitively knowing this did nothing for me. I trembled as I watched five years olds having the time of their lives. It just seemed soooo steep!!! I also have a fear of falling, especially falling in public. Despite Kelsey Grammar's massively impressive and incredible decades long acting career, the first thing that comes to mind about him, is him falling like an idiot off a stage a few years ago. Mid monologue. I mean... His Frasier Emmy awards will never erase that fall from the memories of every slightly snarky person out there. And I'm more than "slightly" snarky. At the encouragement of a couple people in our group, I told my stomach to give me a break for five minutes and went for it. Granted I dragged my hand in the sand to act as a manual break, but I did it!! I made it down in proper surfing position. Twice. I didn't fall. I actually cried the first time I made it down because as easy and minor as it is for most people, I never believed I could/would do it. Not in the cards for me. But I was wrong, it was. I was so proud of myself. I'd have been so let down if I let that entire day pass by without proving SOMETHING to myself. Even for ten minutes.
My youngest, who is far too young to label himself, has decided he too, like mommy, is afraid of heights. It's not real. He just wants us to have this in common. I tell him "be better than mommy". We always want better for our children. Sometimes we want them to mimic, other times we want them to do the opposite. But it's so great when we too can do the opposite of what we are accustomed to, which will lead us up the right paths, and down some fantastic ones too. We are never too old or too young to reach new heights. Miley was right. It's the Climb. And if we fall and there's at least one person who will catch us, then we've already won. As long as it's not mid monologue.