A few weeks ago I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
 I went skydiving. 

Yep. Me, mommy of two, the practical army wife, the girl who is terrified of bridges and thunderstorms, and almost passed out on the Eiffel Tower, donned a parachute and jumped out of an air plane at 30,000 feet.

And of course, everyone asks, why on earth would you want to take such a risk?
But it wasn’t something that I just wanted to do, it was something that I needed to do. 

I first had the urge back when we were living in Washington State about seven years ago. My best friend and I often joked about jumping, but my husband was deployed at the time and I remember him giving me strict instructions to keep both feet firmly on the ground until we were back in the same country. And so I let it go.
But it was always in the back of my mind.

Until August 22, 2008.
 And the day I found out my daddy had terminal cancer. 
And suddenly everything frivolous went out the window. 
And then his cancer grew worse. And I was consumed with fear and trepidation like never before. And then we found out I was pregnant- very unexpectedly. And I was focused on doing everything I could do to minimize risk in every way possible. And then my grandmother died, then my great grandmother died and then my aunt, and then several uncles. And then my Daddy died. And I was startled into a reality where people around me, the very people I loved and could not imagine being without, were gone. And the thought of taking any ridiculous chances was just incomprehensible, And then my husband deployed and I was left to care for our 5 week old and 2 year old, all alone, for a year.  And taking any kind of risk at, in any part of my life, seemed completely irresponsible.

And so for two years, that was how I lived my life. In fear. Terrified of what was coming next. Looking back, I honestly didn’t think it would ever end. I began having panic attacks again, and the tiniest of events would leave me unable to breathe. I felt as though I was trapped under a pillow taking breaths through a straw. And I was suffocating.

But somewhere in that third year, we began to heal. And slowly I began to feel like myself again. The panic attacks subsided, and I began to look back through our ordeal with a little more clarity. You see, August 22, 2008 wasn’t just the day I found out my Daddy was sick, but it was also the day my daughter was born. And I was holding her in my arms when he delivered the news. I remember breaking down and sobbing uncontrollably that night after he left, and the nurses rushing in thinking that something was wrong. I remember vividly my husband pulling them aside to explain and I can remember wondering if my daughter would ever know my father. And that unexpected pregnancy- well just three months after my daddy passed away I delivered a beautiful, healthy baby boy who shares my daddy’s name and so, so much of his personality. He was the grandson my Daddy had longed for but never got to see. And I feel certain that he was sent to me from God. In that third year, in the midst of being left alone in every sense of the word- caring for my babies, having to be the sole care taker of our home, our family, our life, thrust me out of my fear and back into reality. 

And so there I sat just a few days into the New Year,  suited up, strapped in, and awaiting my big jump. The instructor jokingly asked, if I was scared. And when I said No, I wasn’t lying. Even though I couldn’t quite put it into words, I knew the next 7 minutes would pale in comparison to the last three years.  I took a deep breath, crossed my arms and closed my eyes.

And then I jumped.

And one more thing- that hottie there with me, he bought me the skydiving trip for Christmas.
And that is unconditional love and support.

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