Wounded Knees, Wounded Pride: A Water Park Story

The summer of 2002 I had one of the greatest ideas I’ve ever had as a parent.
I got season passes to Raging Waters.
I was only on contract for 10 months out of the year, so I most of the summer off with the kids and most summers were spent trying to think of what to do next so that the boys would not kill each other or so that I would not write to Maury to ask him to send my 5 & 9 year old to boot camp.
Every morning, we’d wake up and as soon as the boys started fighting I’d yell “Get yer trunks on, we’re going on some water slides!”
The first few times there were a blast. We’d go on every slide that they could ride, we’d grab an inner tube and float around the “tropical river”, or we’d just hang out in the wave pool.
It really was the greatest summer vacation we’d ever had.
Until the day I decided to break the rules.
There was this awesome ride that I wanted to take the boys on, but Ethan didn’t meet the height requirement. Every time I’d walk by, I’d be tempted to try to sneak Ethan on because I’m telling you, this ride was The Awesome. I’m trying to think of a way to describe it this ride. You sit on an inner tube and go make your way down through a series of drops, twists and raging waters, kind of like white water rafting? I don’t know, I’m at a loss, but trust me, this ride rules.
One day I decided to sneak Ethan on. I had a great plan. I’d let each of the boys go on their own inner tube, but I would hold onto Ethan’s so that he didn’t get ahead of me, or flip over.
We grabbed our inner tubes, headed up the hill to the front of the line. While we stood in line, we went over “the plan” to make sure nothing bad happened.
Andrew would go first. I would sit next to Ethan, making sure to hold onto his inner tube. If we got separated, we were to all meet at the bottom of the ride.
Perfect. What could go wrong?
Absolutely EVERYTHING, that’s what.
It started off great. No one questioned Ethan’s height and so the hardest part was over (so I thought!) We had successfully broken the rules! Let the fun began!
Five seconds into the ride, I lost my grip on Ethan’s inner tube and he started to float away from me. Andrew was already farther ahead than I would have liked, so I started to freak out. I noticed a big dip was coming up and I panicked. I screamed at Andrew “MEET ME AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RIDE IF WE GET SEPARATED!! DO NOT LEAAAAAVE WITHOUT MEEEE!” Then, my Psychotic Over Protective Mother Skills kicked in and I jumped off of my inner tube and tried running to catch Ethan’s tube.
littledipper1.jpgThere was just one LEEEETLE problem. It was a WATER SLIDE and um, there was a huge dip coming up and um, it was all slippery and uh, I fell all the way down that huge dip, hitting huge rocks all the way down.
I could hear the people standing in line watching GASP as I flipped, skidded and was tossed down stream with the rushing water. I finally landed in a little area where I caught up to Ethan’s tube. I grabbed onto it. Ethan was crying hysterically, I was bleeding from my knees, arms and back and an employee from the park started shouting at us to exit the ride.
I picked Ethan up, dodged the incoming riders on their tubes and made the walk of shame to a set of rocks that I had to climb up to exit the ride.
People in line were staring, I was bleeding, Ethan was crying and the employee was PRETTY FREAKING PISSED OFF.
He helped us off, asked if we needed first aid (um, howza’bout a couple of bandaids, dude?) and asked us to never do that again.
I started crying because Andrew! My poor Andrew! Where was he? Had he followed “the plan”? Luckily, he had and was standing at the bottom of the ride waiting for me. He was visibly upset because it had taken me so long to get there.
As we made our way to the bathroom so I could clean my bleeding wounds, Andrew began to scold me “that’s why they make rules, mom, so that no one gets hurt!”
I felt like the shittiest mother to have ever expelled children from her vagina.
I had spent my entire life as a mother teaching my children to follow the rules because “rules are made to keep you safe!”
I stood there with gaping holes in my knees and said “You’re right, it was wrong of mommy to try to sneak Ethan on the ride, I’m sorry.”
That one little decision pretty much ruined the rest of our summer at Raging Waters because Ethan was traumatized and refused to go on another slide that wasn’t “for babies”.
I spent the rest of the summer bored to tears watching my boys play in the little kids wading pool, longing for the good ol’ days of speed slides and “Drop Out”. But I was just grateful that our season passes weren’t revoked and that we weren’t banned from the park for breaking the rules and almost dying on the freaking roaring rapids water slide.

40 thoughts on “Wounded Knees, Wounded Pride: A Water Park Story

  1. yinyang

    Ha! That reminds me of the bruises my mom had on her knees after my birthday party at Fit for Fun. Yeah, those maze-things could hold an adult’s weight; but, what about space and agility issues, hmm?

    And, you learned your lesson – if you break the rules at a waterpark, you fall on your ass in front of everybody. :)

  2. Brandi

    I think I pulled a muscle in my back from laughing a little too hard.
    “…as I flipped, skidded and was tossed down stream with the rushing water”
    I am of course laughing with you, not at you.
    Maybe.

  3. Karly

    Dude! I was just thinking of the time that we went on a family vacation when I was younger and my dad took my little brother on a tube ride and my dad, being a dare devil freak, was shifting his weight to make the tube go up the walls of the slide (does that make sense?) and ended up flipping them and my brother, being young and not weighing hardly anything, went sliding down the slide on his butt, but my dad, being old and weighing more, was stuck and wouldn’t slide down (longest sentence ever). So, knowing that the pool at the bottom of the slide was to deep for my lil bro to stand up in, my dad got up and RAN down the slide. He broke his toe. That pretty much ended the fun times at the water park for the day. Although whenever I think of that, it makes me wanna hug my dad. (Sappy voice) My hero! Or rather, my lil bro’s hero.

  4. Sonja

    I hope it’s okay that I laughed about this (just a little, and I also, like, feared for your life (except not since you’re writing this and are obviously okay)). The best part?
    “expelled children from her vagina”

  5. Oh, The Joys

    I went on one of those when I was too young and it was too crowded. I vividly remember being stuck under water and not being able to find a way to get above water because of all the inner tubes keeping me down. Scary.

  6. Hed

    My parents would never let me go to Raging Waters, even when they didn’t have to take me! The summer I really wanted to go, some girl drowned in the wave pool, and my mom freaked when I told her I wanted to go on a field trip with ‘the club that beats the streets’, the boys and girls club.
    You are a much cooler parent, even if you fell down!
    -H

  7. Danielle

    I’m scared of those things. I think it has more to do with me burning the first 10 minutes that I’m in the sun but I’m not sure. I can’t really remember why. I’m more the rollercoaster kinda gal.

  8. Kimberly

    Haha, THIS is why I’ve yet to take my older kids, 8 and 5, to a water park even though I’ve been DYING to since they were BORN. :) Great story and well told.

  9. AA

    Well, you made me laugh, even while feeling sorry for you. My son is much braver than I am on those rides.
    And I ‘m nver evevn brave enoguh to break the rules.
    Don’t ya just hate it when the kids bust ya like that!

  10. Mrs Butter B

    The big question is: When Pighunter got home, did Andrew nark on you?
    Because you know you’re a great parent when your kid parents you right back, but you’re an Awesome parent when they tattle on you to your hubby!

  11. mish

    Still laughing. The Maury bit made me get the Husband to share this with him (he laughs at me for watching it). He laughed too. With you. Really. *snort*

  12. nila

    And the moral of the story is…
    That was a good story, as usual. I could envision the whole thing. Thanks for the laugh.

  13. Laural

    My dad once took me on Thunder Mountain (Disney) when I was too small for the ride. I was soooo scared that I managed to pull the bar tighter than it was supposed to go. They could not open the bar. So, until some manager came over my poor father had to keep riding Thunder Mountain. over and over and over. I think he rode it 6 times. And he hates rides.
    Oh the things parents will do.

  14. Pink Herring

    I always wonder how those parks don’t get their pants sued off. When I was a kid, we went to a similar park in NJ. This park had an “Alpine Slide”, where you could ride a ski lift up a mountain (which was actually a ski slope in the winter), then sit on a scooter and slide all the way down the mountain on a windy, steep track. At certain points before big turns, there was a sign that said “USE YOUR BRAKES NOW”. The “brakes” were applied by a joystick, which you pushed forward to go faster (no brakes) or pulled backward to slow down (full brakes) or anything in between. My brother got confused about which was was “no brakes” and accidentally went full speed around the biggest turn. he flew off the ride, rolled into a ditch/ravine and was all bashed up. He had to have stiches in his scalp. It was terrifying! And I think maybe… just maybe… he might have been too little for the ride. Which is probably why we didn’t sue.

  15. coop

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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