Matt was away this weekend, and Grace and Whit and I faced the luxury of an almost entirely empty Sunday.  I knew I wanted to do something adventurous, and a few days ago I signed the three of us up for trapeze school.

Trapeze school.  One of my friends texted and asked if we were skiing on Sunday and I answered that no, we were going to trapeze school.  She responded that wow, she didn’t realize we were a circus family. Okay, fine, it was random.

We showed up on Sunday morning at 10am.  Well, we got there 25 minutes early because of my chronic earliness problem.  But the class started at 10.  With very little preamble, we were strapped into safety harnesses and climbed a seemingly endless set of rickety metal stairs.  We faced a carpeted platform, a smiling helper, and a trapeze.  Grace went first.  I couldn’t believe her courage as she stood on the edge of the platform, grabbed the trapeze, and jumped.  My eyes filled with tears and my hands gripped Whit’s tiny shoulders as we stood and watched her flying through the air.

I was pretty sure Whit would refuse to go.  This child, remember, won’t even go on the spinning teacups, let alone even the slowest of roller coasters.  I was shocked, then, when he gamely stood at the platform edge.  The woman standing there had to hold him off the ground so that he could reach the trapeze.  And then he, too, flew.

The thing I was most afraid of was stepping off the platform.  You hold onto the trapeze, lean way forward into empty space against the weight of the helper who is holding your waist belt.  The ground yawns far, far below.  And then you just have to jump into thin air with only the trapeze bar and your faith to keep you off the ground.  The thing the children were most afraid of was the coming down, which involves letting go of the bar and trusting the belt and safety ropes to help you float down to the net, rather than plummet.

We went over and over again, culminating in being caught by another person on another trapeze.  It was flat-out amazing.  My hands are bleeding and callused and my children are exhausted and smiling.  At one point, after Whit had finally figured out the knee hang and let go, he smiled up at me and said, “Are you proud of me, Mummy?”

Oh, yes, my little man.  I was and I am.  Later Grace told me that she realized how good it felt to do something even when it seemed scary.  I expected an adventure, but I did not realize that once again my children would astound me and that they – and I – would learn yet another lesson about what it is to live this life.

Courage, bravery, trust, and letting go.  Being sure that something will catch you.  Stepping off into thin air with faith that you will fly.

24 thoughts on “Trapeze”

  1. a. Chronic earliness problem? Ha! I call mine my “punctuality complex”!! I love it, glad I’m not the only one who has that affliction!! 🙂
    b. This looks so cool! I would love to try this someday, and think your kids are awesome for being so brave!

    Letting go is the scariest thing, isn’t it? But also the most freeing. 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh! I want to go! Well, really I don’t want to go at all but know that if I did, I would love it! Talk about trust! Big cheers for all of you!

  3. Trust is definitely your word for this year! I love that you did this with the kids. It looks scary and amazing. And these photos. Wow. You won’t believe this, but on Sunday I surprised my husband for his birthday and we went ziplining for the first time through the redwood canopy. Not quite as athletically challenging as trapezing, but still, I was thinking about those same things: trust, courage, letting go…Wheeeeee!

  4. I am so jealous! It looks totally amazing! It is amazing that not only YOU did this but that you shared it with your kids–what a gift!!! I believe nothing makes us feel more alive then when we push outside of our boundaries!!

    You go, Girl!!

  5. a family adventure leads right back to trust…beautiful. all three of you look gorgeous in flight…my heart is expanding with the inspiration. thank you. and love to you.

  6. Talk about letting go of the fear! Literally!

    Amazing shots – I am so proud of all of you!!! (and I never do triple !)

    Just lovely – more proof that you are the mother I would wish for anyone…


  7. Amazing!!! What an awesome adventure. And kudos to all of you for being so brave and trying something new and different. xo

  8. What an amazing gift to give your kids. They will remember this forever.

    Also, your post is a great reminder about getting out and living life. As bloggers I think we have a strong inclination toward reflection, rather than action. But this post is a wonderful example of how great it can be do get up and DO. Looks like a great experience.

    PS – Love your perfect swan dive form!

  9. What a great day and a great experience to share with your children. I love the pictures! It’s wonderful to go out there and seek the adventure-good for you!

  10. That looks like so much fun! I had to share your link with two of my co-workers who trapeze every week.

    As for lessons, yes my kids teach me as much as I try to teach them. Their fearlessness helps me overcome my inclination to be conservative. You’ve captured the best part of parenting.

  11. How cool is that?? And how cool are you guys?? What a great experience to share with your kids. I’m going to have to try something like this.

  12. Love, love, love this! I need to find out if there is anywhere near me that does this.

    (I swear Kasanna has the same socks as Grace and never wears a matching pair. I notice these things because this whole mismatched thing is really messing with me. Now how will I keep up with missing socks if there isn’t a match to look for??? This anxiety couples nicely with my “chronic earliness problem”)

  13. I was going to comment on the socks too! I was reading all the comments though, because I didn’t want to sound totally shallow against all the trust and deeper comments. : )
    My daughter does this and I’ve actually decided it makes laundry easier – you don’t have to find matches – just grab two socks and go!
    Although, I love your trust and your action with your kids. I loved the comment about acting, because we are so drawn to reflection.

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