Reliving past experiences

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By Bryan Marshall

Having a child allows you sometimes to relive your own experiences.

You start to remember early Christmases, the Halloween costumes and not having a care in the world other than why you can’t eat candy for dinner and why you have to go to bed so early.

Recently, I got to witness my 2-year-old son have several new experiences during our first family vacation to Florida.

It was a short three-day trip to the home of my wife’s best friend just outside of Orlando.

The first nausea-inducing hurdle was getting to the Sunshine State.

Now, if we had time, I would have drove, ran, walked, skipped — anything but flown — to get to our destination.

I have flown maybe a dozen times in my life, but it’s still not something I get excited about doing.

I blame my mom, who vows she will never step foot in anything with wings on it.

Her anxiety magically gets shifted to me moments before takeoff every time.

Add that to the fact I would now have to worry about how my little one would react to being thousands of feet in the air and unable to run wild when he wants.

I thought I was going to pass out when the plane took off.

I never do well with this part anyway, whether it’s the bumpiness, the awkward feeling in my legs or the sheer terror of the idea that I will never step foot on the ground again.

My wife usually allows me to squeeze her hand.

I see it as payback for the bruises my fingers still have from when she gave birth to our bundle of joy.

Unfortunately, our son did not want Mommy and Daddy to hold hands because it interrupted his ability to color.

Did he not realize his father was sweating profusely and about to regurgitate dinner?

Once we were safely in the air and the plane was level, I was fine.

I sat back, read a magazine and tried to catch some shut eye.

I’m glad my son, at least not yet, has not inherited the fear of flight gene from me.

In fact, he was content on watching “The Jungle Book” on our portable DVD player for the journey.

When it came time to land, however, I thought for sure he was at least a bit frightened.

We were in the absolute back of the plane, meaning the roaring of the jets was at its highest level.

He looked at me with wide eyes, sort of like he does when he has an “accident”, and said, “What’s that daddy?”

At this point, I was already holding his hand because I knew what it was like to be deadly afraid of pending doom.

Plus, whoever was the nearest to me I would have clenched their hand until it turned purple.

I said, “It’s the landing gear,” as I showed him what I was talking about on a miniature plane I bought him in anticipation of the flight.

He simply laughed and said, “It’s loud,” and continued eating a snack.

Is he really my son?

Any doubts were erased when he visited the beach for the first time.

He loved “the sandbox” as he called it, but hated the water.

He was terrified to get anywhere near the waves and ran as fast as a 2-year-old can away from them.

While I don’t love the beach — too sandy and hot — I really can’t stand the water.

It can be freezing at times and if any of the ocean water hits your mouth, that salt water is a taste you won’t get rid of for weeks.

The biggest part of our trip, however, was going to Disney World.

My son loves Mickey Mouse and repeatedly asked when we were going to “Mickey’s house.”

I remember loving going to see all the characters when I was younger and riding the rides.

I still am not a huge fan of any ride that goes up in the air, goes fast or has a drop.

But, it was bittersweet to see how excited he was to get on the Dumbo ride.

Since it is fairly harmless, it also was one of my favorites growing up.

Watching his smile as we went around in that elephant with giant ears was like seeing my self so many years ago.

It made me realize that while two years of a child’s life goes by so fast, there will be an unlimited amount of experiences I will get to share with my son.

There will be soccer games, school dances, first dates, first heartbreaks, a wedding and eventually his own child to create memories with.

I just hope I don’t squeeze his hand too tight on the next flight.

(Bryan Marshall is the staff writer for the Grant County News. He can be reached at 824-3343 or by e-mail at bmarshall@grantky.com.)