How would you approach your wife if you wanted her to go skydiving with you?
I knew my wife well enough to know it wasn't going to be an easy sell. As a mother of 4 she worries more than she used to, and usually favors spending extra money on home improvement over entertainment. I had found a good deal on skydiving and needed someone to do it with me. Sara is always my first choice when it comes to sharing an activity, but sometimes my choice of activities are out of Sara's comfort zone.
Most the activities I have talked her into turned out good but there have been a few mixed results.
Backpacking = great
Whitewater rafting = great
Downhill Mt. Biking = good
Rock Climbing = not as good
Private surf charter = bad
I think I have toned it down since the private surf charter in Costa Rica. Those were likely the best waves of my life. Eight to ten foot sets that peeled perfectly for 300 yards. I get a smile just typing the last sentence. Unfortunately when Sara reads this she will not be smiling. The waves were way out of her league. Not daring to paddle through the large waves to the beach she was stuck on the boat with the spanish speaking skipper. The large swells I was riding were putting quite a rock on the boat. Pretty soon Sara was seasick. While I was enjoying surfing nirvana she was blowing chunks into the emerald 85 degree water. Around mid day she could take no more and finally got the guts to paddle through the large waves to the shore for some respite from the constant motion. There she sat on the rocky beach for the next 5 hours without a lick of shade from the 100 degree Costa Rican sun and not so much as a volleyball named Wilson to keep her company. I thought it was great that she moved to the beach. I was getting the rides of my life and now I had a witness. I would wave to her after every wave, I even paddled in to spend a good 5 minutes or so with her. She had an awesome view of all my awesome waves but that view came with an expensive price tag and I'm not talking about what it cost to charter the boat. She got scorched, blisters the whole works. If you ask me I will say that was some of the best money I ever spent. I'm sure Sara doesn't remember it as fondly. That was two kids ago and maybe it was time to get her out of her comfort zone.
Without scaring her out of it, I needed to drop some subtle hints to feel out what my chances of her actually jumping were. I racked my brain over the perfect 'feeler comment.'
"Skydiving, now there is an extreme sport that guys and girls can enjoy together!"
"I listened to a podcast on skydiving the other day. Man, that must be exhilarating!"
or how about,
"Would you have guessed that scuba diving is two times more dangerous than skydiving? Pretty crazy huh?"
Everything I came up with reeked of Ralphie trying to score a Red Rider BB gun. I was in serious danger of overplaying my hand.
Since purchasing Lola last summer, I don't so much as put an extra box of cereal in the cart at Costco without first asking Sara's opinion. After much contemplation however, I felt a surprise attack was my best chance of getting Sara to jump out of a plane. I decided to just buy the tickets, kidnap her for the weekend and drive her to the airport without her having any knowledge of what she was in for. It may have been a little brash. It was definitely a bit of a risk but that's what makes it exciting.
When it was time to finally kidnap Sara on Friday morning before Mother's Day, she was shocked.
"We can't leave because of __obligation 1__."
"Canceled that a week ago."
"We have ___obligation 2__ tomorrow."
"Took care of that."
"What about ___obligation 3___."
"Jenni is filling in for you."
I was at hero status, at least for the moment. Skydiving wasn't until Saturday so I had planned all of Friday to be fun surprises for Sara. I wanted to make sure she at least had some good memories of the weekend in case skydiving backfired.
Sara's first surprise was the Carlsbad flower fields.
They were a hit.
Other surprises included a bike ride at the beach,
A trip to the San Diego temple,
And what girl doesn't appreciate a quick stop at Nordstrom's.
Finally it was time to stroll the beautiful La Jolla coast for sunset.
She'll forever be Queen of the corny photos. One of the many reasons I love her.
It is amazing how much you can fit into a day when you don't have the kids tagging along.
Am I romantic or what?
My hero status had swelled as the day progressed.
We ate at PF Chang's where Sara did Cheesecake shots.
That night I slept uneasy. Partially because I was jumping out of a plane in the morning but mostly because I was worried how Sara was going to react when she found out she was jumping out of a plane in the morning. We had so much fun the day before I didn't want skydiving to ruin the weekend.
I wasn't going to tell her what she was going to do until she figured it out. That happened faster than I expected. As soon as we turned onto Airport drive she said,
"I am not jumping out of a plane."
"You don't have to if you don't want to, but I already paid for it."
The conversation that followed will remain private. Let's just say I lost my hero status and there were some tears and for a while I was regretting my decision.
Opening her mind up took some convincing from me and a phone call to her sister who had already been skydiving. Then seeing a couple people go before us gave her some confidence as well.
I think the scariest part of the whole thing is signing the paperwork. You read about 40 different things that can go wrong to result in your death and then you have to sign that you have a proper will and have financial provisions for any dependents. If Sara could make it through that, she could certainly jump out of an airplane.
You get a lesson in skydiving that lasts five minutes or less from your instructor.
You knew Sara's instructor was legit. He wore a No Fear sweatshirt and had a long flowing ponytail. If that doesn't scream qualified, I don't know what does.
Always looking for a little extra adrenaline Sara requested to sit in the open doorway of the plane for the flight up.
Finally the moment you have all been waiting for. The video.
Sara's instructor told us we would be wired for at least 5 hours after. He wasn't exaggerating. Sara was stoked like I had never seen her. For the rest of that night she couldn't calm down. She just kept saying things like, "I can't believe I jumped out of a plane." and "That was the coolest thing I have ever done." and "That was the best Mother's Day gift anyone could have ever gotten me." In the end it turned out to be maybe the best 200 bucks I have ever spent. Maybe even better than the surf charter and for now I am back to my previous hero status.