An exercise in letting go, and proof that the only time I can actually bring myself to "let go" is when I'm physically incapable of hanging on like a limpet.
While we were in Massanutten, we visited the Massanutten Waterpark. It is a child's dream come true. There are three parts to the park. First, there are the exciting chutes you can streak down. Several require that you ride in tube, and others just fling you down on your own with your arms folded and your legs crossed. These big rides are reached by climbing up about forty flights of stairs. Then the main area is a huge climb and slide, all completely water-ized, with other big slides ranging from giant three-story flumes to regular playground-sized slides that are just all foaming with water. The marginal areas include two hot tubs, a swimming pool, a baby pool, a surf simulator, and a "river" with a current that you can float around in a tube while water gets dropped on your head.
Of course when I walked in and saw all this madness, my first plan was to keep a sharp eye on Benny at all times. After all, he could slip. He could fall. He could disobey a lifeguard! So when he wanted to go down the big chutes, I climbed the eighty-seven flights of stairs, watched while he got into one called "Avalanche" and then climbed down. By the time I got all the way back down to where the chutes end, he had long since shot out of the output, and disappeared. Panicked, I located him, and we went back up the hundred and eight flights of stairs. This time, I knew I had to go into Avalanche behind him, or I would lose him again. So I did. That was an awful 45 seconds. A 45 seconds I did not want to repeat. So as I sat at the bottom of "Avalanche," realizing that Benny had disappeared *again,* I knew I had to make a choice.
For the rest of the time we were there, Dan and I played with Sadie and trusted Benny to look after himself. He climbed the stairs. He shot the chutes. He played on the playground, and rode the surf simulator and all the rest of it. He made friends. He gambolled about. He did not die and he did not even crush his skull or lose a finger. He did not disobey any of the multitude of lifeguards, and he did not get kidnapped -- we kept an half an eye on the one exit just in case. It was all FINE.
Six hours later, Benny had neither eaten anything nor had anything to drink, having refused to take a break for any reason. He was still going strong, but the rest of us were ready to be dry! A glorious day for two children who love the water, even if it was a trying time for two parents who have trouble saying, "Go run and play" in any place more threatening than the living room.
Later, Benny asked me why there were so many pictures of Sadie and almost no pictures of him. The truth was that while we had made a point to lay eyes on him every ten minutes or so, and exchange words with him every half hour, we hadn't seen much of him all day! Who would have thought I could have survived this "letting go" experience -- maybe I am growing up at last. ;D
Here's a video of Benny trying to ride the surf simulator -- all it wanted to do was remove his trunks!