My Real Life

May 26, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
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I have something that’s been weighing on my mind for the past few days.

Recently, a friend of mine lost a family member to a skydiving accident.

He left behind a young wife and baby daughter.

Sky diving was on my list of things to do in the near future.

In discussing the situation with two of my friends, one of them said “Don’t do it until the kids are all grown up.”

The other friend said, “You can’t not do things because there is a risk involved.  Life doesn’t stop because you have kids.”

And, suddenly, I can see both points.

I’ve always been a risk taker and have always been interested in going higher, farther, faster.

As I age, I’ve found that I want to reach out and try more things that I haven’t done before.  Maybe I hear the mortal clock ticking in my ear.  Maybe I’m just crazy.

However, I want to do these things, and part of why I want to skydive and take a trapeze class and bungee jump is to teach my kids that it’s okay to take risks and to try new and scary things.

And yet…what if something did happen to me?

Is it selfish of me to want to do these things while I still have young kids?

Should parents put those dreams on the shelf until their kids are older and are living their own lives?

I’m interested in what other people think about this topic and would appreciate any and all comments on the topic.


  1. Amy,

    I went through this a few years back. I was always one who had to ride the motorcycle, dirt bike, four-wheeler, snow machine faster and faster and then it happened and it happened right in front of my son (who was already 16 at the time), I smashed into a car while riding a dirt bike, Unaware that I was in shock, I behaved as if I was okay and tried to shake it off while there was blood streaming down my leg. The look on my son’s face was enough to make me realize that it is more important to be here for him than taking any risks or trying new stunts. My life is too important. Sure, the sense of adventure is always at the back of my mind, but I think, in that fleeting moment before death, I want to see my life flash before my eyes filled with moments with my son, his future wife, my future grandchildren….not jumping out of a plane (that would probably make my hair turn grey faster than it already is! LOL ) Just my two cents. Have a great weekend!

    Comment by — May 26, 2012 @ 7:37 am | Reply

    • Great feedback, Debbie…thanks!

      Comment by abozza — May 26, 2012 @ 8:08 am | Reply

      • It’s difficult because, like you, I understand both points of view – especially as someone who was in the past five years single, and now as someone married without kids. However, I agree with Debbie. I know we don’t have kids yet, but your thoughts in blogging have provided me with a little bit of insight to how much you can love your child, and how essential you are to your child’s life. And I’m sure even your well-appointed words can’t capture this love and influence! The more I think and learn about the subject and the more we talk about having a family, I think it’s essential to show your children that risk-taking is a part of life. I think that it’s fantastic that this is a goal of yours for your kids. But for us, I think we would choose other ways to show them that it is okay to take risks, and thereby show the thought processes leading up to whether to take a risk or not. What does Real Man think?

        Comment by Rachel — May 26, 2012 @ 9:31 am

      • Thanks for the feedback, Rachel! I’ll let Real Man decide if he wants to chime in or not. 🙂

        Comment by abozza — May 26, 2012 @ 9:47 am

  2. I have had this same discussion with myself. I can’t tell you what’s right for you, but the way I made the determination for myself is by asking myself this question….

    Is your need to skydive bigger than your children’s need to have their mother in their lives from now until forever?

    I had a classmate whose father died in a skydiving accident when we were seniors….he jumped as a professional. She has not had her father in her life for the last 25 years. It’s bad enough when kids have that void with cancer, car accidents, etc.

    My cousins were 2 and 5 when my aunt died from a brain tumor. And my godfather left a 12, 17, 19 year old when he died suddenly from an aneurism. They would give anything to have these people in their lives.

    Just think about how that 5 year now feels when she thinks about her own kids…To have Vanessa hug and kiss the 6 yr old (her namesake) and the new three month old and just to have the chance to get to know a great woman. Just an FYI- the two year old grew up and got his mother’s name tattood on his arm. That makes me cry. I think tattoos are great, but this is what he felt he needed to do honor her- which I guess is a substitution for never having made breakfast in bed for her on mother’s day-something a two year old would never have had a chance to do before she was gone-forever.

    And to have Bill around- as a father to help guide and answer life’s difficult questions-or just to talk about the game scores-Uncle Bill was a score fanatic- knew all the stats. I think of him every time I play Trivial Pursuit.

    Instead, these kids have memories. My heart breaks when I think about the great memories I shared with her as as a teenager and the memories she could not create on her own two children.

    And, so when you ask yourself the question I posed earlier, put your kids in the picture instead of my cousins. Is this ok to you? Do you think they will appreciate their mother’s risk taking nature? Or hate her for choosing something that had such high risk?

    If you still have same thought, then jump. If you cannot fathom it, then don’t.

    On a side note – did you know that when you apply for life insurance, they now ask if you have sky dived in the last five years. Hmmm. That makes you wonder, uh?

    Comment by Carla corcoran — May 26, 2012 @ 9:48 am | Reply

    • Food for thought, Carla. Very interesting about the insurance!

      Comment by abozza — May 26, 2012 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

  3. We take risks everyday some larger than others. You could get hit by a bus crossing a street. Follow your dreams it’s one of the greatest things you can teach your children.

    Comment by nery — May 26, 2012 @ 11:05 am | Reply

    • Thanks, Nery. I agree that having and following dreams is an amazing thing to demonstrate to your children.

      Comment by abozza — May 26, 2012 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

  4. Hi Amy,

    You raise a very interesting question which I believe doesn’t have a universal “right” or “wrong” answer. It may seem like a cop out, but I believe it’s up to each of us to draw that line in conjunction with our partner / spouse or those we share care giving with.

    Age brings some simple realities:

    The majority of people don’t have the same physical capabilities at 60 and 70 as they do at 20 and 30. It’s not bad, but it is what it is. So for lots of physical activities, we can’t count on having the physical ability to pursue our goals when our kids are gone. With that in mind, I make a lot of my adventure decisions based on risk reward.

    On my “bucket list” is:
    1) sea kayaking along the coast of Alaska – among the whales and tenting on ice bergs
    2) winter cross country ski (backcountry) in Yellowstone NP
    3) climbing Devils Tower (in Devils Tower National Monument Wyoming)
    4) backpacking on the Great Wall of China
    5) spending significant time on the Amazon River (month or two)
    6) kayaking the entire Wilderness Waterway in Everglades NP (100+ miles)

    There are about 7 or 8 others. But here’s where I’m going with it. I don’t change my list because I have kids. However, I do evaluate my decision to go or not to go based on risk reward. There are a lot of in trip decision I’ve done (backpacking, ice climbing, kayaking / canoeing), that have come down to risk reward. Several times I’ve wanted to look at or experience certain things, but because of either skill level or the fact that I was alone several days walk from a road, I chose not to do it. I don’t choose not to do things because I have kids, rather I choose not to do things because I don’t want to die or get seriously hurt. If I can mitigate that risk to an acceptable level than I will partake in the experience.

    With regard to fairness. I personally don’t think it sets a good example to not do things because I have kids. I think setting an example of exploration and pursuing passion (while being prudent) is a great gift to give children. This can be done through example or by encouraging them to try themselves.

    Deep Peace

    Comment by ouractsofkindness — May 26, 2012 @ 11:45 am | Reply

    • Thanks, Jeff. I’ve always encouraged my kids to take, what I term, acceptable risks. (I think I even wrote a blog post about it a few years ago). The fact that I will be 61 by the time Tiny is 21 is a big factor in all of this, for me. Love the idea of a bucket list…never formalized it that way…perhaps I will. Good way to look at it to say you choose not to do things, not because you have kids, but because you don’t want to die or get hurt. Interesting perspective. Thanks for the feedback.

      Comment by abozza — May 26, 2012 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  5. Rachel, I think it all comes down to how bad you need to fulfill the activity and whether you think that risk is worth the potential outcome. While I’ve recently thought of doing this very activity, inspired by a co-worker of mine who just did this, this recent tragedy makes me realize that my friend did this at 55, not 29, while his daughters were young adults, not toddlers. I lost a parent at a very young age and am very aware of the impact. Me personally? I wouldn’t do it until they were older.


    Comment by me — May 26, 2012 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

    • Real Man, ladies and gentlemen. 🙂

      Comment by abozza — May 27, 2012 @ 5:27 pm | Reply

      • I think RM’s opinion has to be the one that matters here. He has been there, done that & with his experience, he says, don’t do it. THAT says it all.

        You are so young, that waiting another 20 years is not going to impact your ability to keep this on your bucket list. (I am not saying do not cross the street. There are risks everywhere. You can’t turn into ‘bubble mom’. But, you can weigh the risks against rewards & take those ‘acceptable risks’. (role model is role model – for everything).

        Oprah once interviewed a woman who became a doctor at 79. The woman made a statement that in a nutshell said, ‘I was going to be 79, with or without me being a doctor, so I decided to go for it.’

        You can jump out of an airplane, with or without toddlers in the house.

        Comment by Carla — May 30, 2012 @ 7:28 am

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