Earlier this month our family traveled to Costa Rica for spring break. Have you ever been? This was more of an adventurous vacation than we typically undertake, including the trek there and back. (Let’s just say Costa Rican roads are not for the faint of heart.) But we fell hard for the country—potholes and all—and we hope to return one day!
Near the end of our stay, we booked a waterfall excursion with a local guide. At our first stop—which our guide referred to as an “appetizer”—we piled onto a very high, very narrow ledge, squinting at the murky pool of water below. “Are you sure it’s deep enough?” asked my husband. “Vamanos!” replied our guide.
Our excursion culminated at a “waterfall slide,” essentially a rock chute worn smooth by a constant steam of water, followed by a steep, open drop. When we arrived, my husband took one look at the slide, plopped down on a sun-baked rock and announced he was done for the day. To reach the slide, my daughters and I swam across a large pool of water and ascended a rickety, 20-foot ladder attached to steep rock face. “Don’t look down,” warned our guide. When we reached the top, I gave a weak wave to my husband, who looked sick with worry. As our guide reviewed instructions for the slide (“Keep your arms and feet crossed! Head slightly raised!”), my oldest daughter dug her fingers into my arm. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” she whispered. I can usually count on my youngest to be brave enough for everyone, but even she looked uneasy.
I gathered my tribe and admitted I was 100% terrified. I told them that no one HAD to do the slide and that sometimes the bravest decision is acknowledging your limits. On the other hand, any regret they felt over not trying it could make for a verrrrry long ride home. The choice was theirs. In the end, we all took the plunge—even yours truly! It was fast, furious and took at least ten years off my life.
A week later when we were back on solid Main Line ground, my oldest daughter confessed that she was nervous about an upcoming school event. I told her I thought she should go, but I wasn’t going to force her. I also reminded her of the waterfall slide and how proud she’d felt for trying it. Sure, she might hate the event and wish she’d stayed home, but there was also a chance she’d have fun. Only one way to find out, right?