The most telling part of this photo is the contrast between the smiling couple in back and my crew.
Take a close look at the photo. The two in the front are mine. My husband and my son, both petrified, both praying for the alleged fun to be over and both cursing me. Yup, it was my idea that they go on the damn ride in the first place. It's the "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith" at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. We were there a few weeks ago and I thought it would be a cool bonding experience for my boys to try a big roller coaster. Mind you I can't even handle the teacups and Dumbo makes me a nervous wreck (that thing goes high and the seat belts are not tight!) but I didn't think I'd passed on my ride-loathing gene to my kid. He's tough and adventurous and used to get really mad when he was too small for the rides. And I certainly figured Nick could handle it. The guy isn't afraid of anything...or so I thought. To be honest, I thought they'd been on crazy rides together before but in retrospect (considering Alex isn't even six yet and just cleared the 48-inch requirement and we don't frequent carnivals), I probably made that up. Anyway, the line wasn't that long (i.e., only 40 minutes) so I suggested it and off they went, both seeming game. Nora, my mother-in-law and I bought overpriced cheese-flavored popcorn and watched a live Beauty and the Beast show (which was quite impressive, I must say).
We all met up about 45 minutes later for lunch and my men were zombies. "Was it awesome?" I said, hoping the look of despair on their faces was because the ride was over. "No, it wasn't awesome, babe," said Nick. "Mom, I can't believe you let me go on that!" said Al. And then neither of them talked again for at least 10 minutes. My husband was even more traumatized than Alex (see the photo for evidence). Apparently, he screamed and white knuckled it the whole time while Alex just sat pale-faced and shell-shocked like you see in the photo. (He is never quiet and I've never seen his eyes that beady). I felt terrible. Apparently the ride goes upside down in the dark at 50 MPH (according to Nick; I did not fact-check that speed), with Aerosmith tunes blasting in your ear. I know some people love roller coasters but that sounds like a form of CIA torture to me. I should have asked around before sending them on the ride, but I was just so excited that Alex finally cleared the height stick (and I swear I saw other kids going on!) that I didn't think anything of it. Plus, he's been on (and loved) all the kiddie coasters so this seemed like a logical next step. It backfired. So much for protecting my baby...and for strengthening his trust in me.
I was once forced to go on Space Mountain with my family when I was about 10 years old. They all wanted to go and I didn't (have I mentioned how much I hate scary rides?) so my mom gave me some cash to get a snack and watch "Minnie Mouse's Birthday Extravaganza" next to the ride. Turns out I was even more afraid of being kidnapped than plunging to my death in a space ship so I ran through the line to find them and went on the damn roller coaster. Even though it was 25 years ago, it's burned into my childhood memories. My bad ones. I really hope I didn't do that for my kid. He definitely seems like less of a weenie than I am so I'm thinking he'll survive. When Nick downloaded that photo a few days after our trip, I felt some serious mom guilt. How could I have subjected my sweet little boy to that adrenaline-junkie insanity?! Especially knowing that it is quite possibly in his DNA to be more of a People Mover kind of guy (I love that ride! And it's so lame there are never any lines!). But now that we've had some distance, it's really just a funny story to tell (and a hilarious photo of Nick). Alex likes to talk a good game about the coaster and has mentioned he would go on it again. "The more you do something mom, the less scary it gets," he told me. "Anyway, I loved that ride." I have shown him the photo for evidence that he did not, in fact, love it. But if he wants to try again (when he's a teenager without his poor father sitting next to him), he can be my guest.