just jumped out of the plane

Recently our second child, Maddie, turned 18. You know her as a regular contributor here on the blog. For months leading up to this birthday, she talked about wanting to go skydiving. If I’m telling the truth here, that thought made me nauseous. As I struggled once again to balance my protective instincts with supporting my child in her dreams, this prayer from my childhood gave me clarity. We prayed it every week at church for the birthday people for the duration of my childhood. This is how it goes:

Watch over thy child, O Lord, as her days increase;
bless and guide her wherever she may be.
Strengthen her when she stands;
comfort her when discouraged or sorrowful;
raise her up if she falls;
and in her heart may the peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of her life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is the kind of love I want for myself and my family. I am blessed to have parents who channel God’s love to me. They have supported me through good decisions and bad. They’ve cheered my successes and picked me up off the ground a few times. I want to be this kind of parent to my children, too. So, I did my best to embody the spirit of that prayer, and I went to the airport and watched her jump from an airplane.

I am sooo glad I did! My husband and I, along with our youngest son, went with her to the skydiving business. We watched and listened as she filled out paperwork and received instruction on the jump. By the time they were through with this, I was completely comfortable with the idea of my girl jumping out of an airplane. Here she is practicing the proper form:

skydiving practice

Practicing getting out of the plane:

skydiving practice getting out of plane

In the plane, ready to jump:

in the plane getting ready to go

She did a tandem jump and both she and the instructor had one leg out of the plane before stepping out.

feet on the step of the plane getting ready to jump

The instructor had a camera attached to his glove and got some photos. This was right after jumping. Look at that smile!

just jumped out of the plane smiling already

This is the free fall part of the jump. It lasted from 10,000 feet to 5,000 feet, when they pulled the parachute.

just jumped out of the plane

Here is what I saw from the ground. That little tiny dot is my child!

parachute way up there

Getting closer:

tandem parachute green and red

And closer:

tandem parachute green and red

Landing:

parachute landing

And the post jump smile: she LOVED it!

post skydive smile

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6 Responses to My Child Stepped Out of an Airplane and I Stepped Out of My Comfort Zone

  1. Miranda says:

    What a great post sharing your heart. Beautiful pictures too. Your daughter looks like a truly lovely young woman. To be honest, the thought of sky diving scares the heck out of me too. Eeek.

  2. carol says:

    Jumped out of a plane!!!!!! Did you know you can tie them down?!?!? OK…maybe you can’t. …. Oh my, I guess growing up sometimes means coming DOWN!

  3. Jaclyn B. says:

    What a great post! I’m just starting out on the parenting journey (My Maddy is only 6 months). I have been skydiving, and it was such an incredibly amazing experience! It really relates to so much of life. Sometimes you just have to take the leap and trust that God has it under control.

    • Betsy says:

      Thank you, Jaclyn! I suspect that parenting is just as thrilling as skydiving, but it lasts a lot longer! Best wishes on your parenting journey – you picked a great name for your girl.

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