86. Losing my Jet Ski virginity.

Jet Skis 5The guide was a loose unit, only vaguely interested in us. You do this before? Four out of six of us said no.

This is the throttle. No brakes.  Okay, follow me!

He took off like there were killer ants threatening to crawl into his jocks. He didn’t look back.

We blasted around the island, warp speed for mamma. We had to go fast to keep up with the Tahitian lunatic.  I squealed a lot, quite a lot.  Cody loved every minute.

It was exceptional fun.

We stopped. We saw a humpback whale. He was close, maybe ten metres tops. He was playing. It was remarkable.

We stopped. Cody leapt off and swam with the stingrays and the reef sharks with the Tahitian lunatic. I didn’t. The stingrays were slippery and slimy, and crazy friendly. If I didn’t know better I would say they were smooching up to my boy.

The Italian man ran his jet ski into the West Coast American woman’s leg. Luckily, not particularly fast. Just to be sure it was a real cock up, he did it once more.  She screamed. Her new husband from Boston screamed too, but in a manly way. He looked like he wanted to strangle the Italian. No one was happy. I think it hurt everyone.

We were out in the big blue for two whole hours. The water that sprayed up onto my face and legs was tepid, a Pacific miracle.

When we got back, nothing was broken but the Italian man still prayed for forgiveness. The Boston Strangler took his details. I didn’t see  the Italian’s prayers answered.

It was quite some adventure.

83. A glimpse of the beautiful man.

993413_604130646297001_1364375435_nTo better understand the island we are holidaying on, I chose a quad bike adventure for my boy and me today.  People get killed on them I know, but I figured Albert Tours wouldn’t have a business if they sent people home in boxes.

I’d driven one on a Bay of Islands shoot a couple of years ago; Cody had plenty of practice on his uncle’s farm down South. So off we went – two couples (one a creepy old Japanese daddy, young princess combination… the other a generic American pair), a guide (who was also a policeman and a fireman apparently) and Cody and me.

We were sharing a bike and I was driving… all the way till the dirt road starting resembling a Rainbow’s End ride. I stopped to gather my nerve, and slow my heart a little. Without a beat – I’ll drive mum.  So I slid back, and let my boy step up and into a new role with his mamma.

We were overland for three hours. Through a pineapple plantation, through the Opunohu Valley, all the way up to the summit of Mount Tohiea and back down again we tore it up. Correction – he tore it up. I just held on tight and grinned and wooped and exclaimed at the beautiful scenery.

About half way through our adventure we stopped at an Agricultural College where pineapple everything was for sale.  Cody tested his bloods, found he was high and had to say no to the fresh pineapple ice cream and just drink water instead. I could see the man wrestling with the boy. He knew high blood sugars affected his concentration so he had to deny himself. But it made him crazy mad. And it made me crazy sad that this was even his reality.

You think parenting is hard when your kids are little but intellectually it’s kind of easy. Keep them fed, keep them safe, keep them warm and dry. Letting them go is the hardest part of all. Throw in a life threatening condition and the stakes are even higher.

As mothers we are genetically programmed to hold our babies close. Then suddenly they’re fifteen and to do your job well you have to change your game and, finger by finger, release your grip and set them free.

Today I let another finger go and he rose to the occasion, both occasions actually, beautifully. Of course he did.

Of course he did.

82. Accidental aerobics

Another tricky position I found myself in

I’d seen an exercise class at the end of the jetty late yesterday afternoon, and it looked pretty idyllic. There were about ten people and they were on their bums and their arms were stretched to the gods.  That looks like a bit of me I thought.

So I rocked up at 5 today, joining half a dozen alarmingly fit looking French women and one French man, all taut and tanned within an inch of their terrific lives.

We went straight into a warm up stretch. Watch me, I can stretch with the best of them I said to myself, not in French.

Then the instructor put on a different track, a frighteningly upbeat let’s not stretch to the gods let’s give them a brown eye instead kind of track.

She spoke in French and I can confirm ten lessons have not made a linguist out of me. The only words I understood were Left, Right, Repeat and Marche! The only time she shifted into English was to say pointed things like “Get that butt closer to the ground” and “Lower” and “Higher” to the only non-French speaker in the class. That would be me.

I threw myself at it of course. I’ve learned that it’s the only way. I’m too old to be the surly girl in the back of the class now (what with me not being 16) and besides there was nowhere to hide out there on the jetty. Leaving wasn’t an option for me. It’s a long jetty; that would make a lengthy walk of shame.

For most of the class I vacillated between worrying I would pee myself with all the leaping and jumping, and worrying that I would misjudge my steps and throw myself into the sea. You’ll be happy to hear neither of these came to pass. I also giggled a lot. At least I’m top of the class at that.

And then fifty minutes later we were stretching it out, stretching it down. And for three perfect minutes we looked like the scene I had spied the day before.

I am constantly amazed at my ability to stumble into adventure. All kinds of adventure. This was a simple aerobic adventure, but all by itself it served its sweet little purpose.

Stretch it out girlfriend. Stretch that comfort zone out.