“No, Mom, no! I’m don’t want to. I’m too scared. No! Please, no!”
Waterpark guests glanced our way. Some smiled. Lifeguards looked. I persisted.
His 4-year old cousin loved the slide and his six-year old brother was a frequent flyer. Gabe would try it once. Screaming and squirming he was trapped in my maternal hold.
I know you’ll love it Gabe. It’s not scary. It’s really fun.
Gabe persisted public, loud, wriggling hard to get free.
No, Mom. I’m too scared. It’s too dark (not true) and too steep (not true) and the slide goes outside (true-but not scary). Pleeeease, no!”
For a split second I reconsidered. Then I saw his goggled grinning face emerging from the chute and on toward the stairway we strode.
By the first landing, his body had stopped protesting, ahead of his mouth. I lowered Gabe, holding firm to his hand to prevent retreat and we made our way to the next landing to the tune of “Why Mom? It’s too scary.”
Finally, 112 stairs up with double blue tube in tow, we hit the summit. Relentless, omniscient mom and reluctant, scared-to-death son.
Gabe’s last stand at the sight of the tube was pitiful. Then I set him square on the first circle, and held him tight.
No, Mom, please, no.
You’ll be back a dozen more times, assured the grinning teen who pushed us off.
There we were. Together on our tube. Gracefully, silently sliding through the fat green tube, awash in mid-morning sunshine.
No more was he screaming fear. Gabe was broadcasting joy. The second the tube hit the water, he said the words I knew he would,
That was so fun. Let’s go again-ten times!
And in the course of the next hour, with help from Grandpa (2 runs), Grandma (2 runs), Aunt Charissa (1 run), Aunt Danielle (1 run) and mom (the remaining 4 runs), Gabe did enjoy ten runs down the once feared, dreaded and very scary green slide.
And from our first run down the green chute to our last breath on God’s green earth, our loving Lord holds our hand and walks us through.
For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; it is I who say to you. ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’ I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD, your Redeemer is on the Holy One of Israel.
-Written in memory of my dear, fearless Uncle Kevin. God took hold of his hand and walked Uncle Kev home Sunday, February 19th, 2012. Now in four years since, I’ve seen Him hold his family, too.