By Jen Hollidge
Not for Nothing NH
She has a knack for throwing me curveballs, my Madam First Born.
My comfy chair is enticing, but she lobs a challenge at me to ride a menacing waterslide at Whale’s Tale Waterpark; the Eye of the Storm, aka the Big Toilet Bowl — and we’re about to be flushed.
Four flights up, down a dark, steep tube, shooting out into a bowl-like area, then dropping through a large center hole into the churning pool below.
In line we watch and laugh as each rider is unceremoniously flushed. A flash of fear crosses each face as the free-fall begins and Anxiety spreads in my gut. This one plops head first. That one belly flops. Ugh. Kids behind me double over laughing.
We hit the top and Madam First Born is up. No big deal. She jumps, she’s off. Shooting out of the tube like a pro, she swirls with ease offering the crowd a “dab.”
Seriously? “Yeah,” the kids all cheer approvingly.
And then teenage lifeguard is looking at me.
I ponder retreat.
“Go ahead,” he prompts. Pushy kid. I grab the edges of the tube reluctantly, sit half in darkness and edge into the tube. Big exhale. This is happening. Go! Water rushes. I bump against the edges of the slide.
Shooting out, I round the bowl and lose momentum rapidly. That creepy center hole arrives and I hit the water sideways, coming up for air gracelessly. Hair askew, I’m disoriented, disheveled, shaky from adrenaline, and carrying an earful of water.
Madam First Born waits.
“You only went around like, one time, Mom.”
She laughs. I laugh with her as we head back to our chairs. Safety. She’s off to ride Poseidon’s Voyage, standing up with ease to the ride’s “g-force” and “vertical launch capsule.” Thankfully, she doesn’t offer an invite.
I bask in sun and chlorine smell and think on this daughter of mine, my Madam First Born, who made me a mother. For 13 years, she squares me up to the plate and pitches away and today I’m starting to see that she just may be the better ball player.
I’m Jen Hollidge, a full-time program coordinator, full-time mother of two amazing daughters and full-time wife to my partner in crime for 18 years. We live in Concord, N.H. I have an English degree from the University of New Hampshire and I love to write.