Opinions Needed: Was Taking My Five-Year-Old Parasailing Irresponsible?
Last weekend I took my five-and-a-half-year-old to a spot many Hudson Valley'ers tend to visit for summer vacation - Lake George.
We mapped out our long weekend of activities, must-see and must-try list, along with all of the ice cream stand recommendations that we gathered along the way, and off we went.
Upon checking into our hotel, which was just feet outside of Lake George Village, one of the first things my little one noticed as we sat by the pool was the parasailers that were flying in the distance. I told her the story of going parasailing the last time I visited Lake George, almost 10 years prior. I told her I would take her if she wanted to go, she said no thanks.
Fast forward a few days and she brought it up again, and I once again told her that I'd take her and she said ok, let's do it. As our getaway began winding down, on our final day in town, I decided that I would try and make a reservation for a two-person ride with her, and was able to secure a spot for us at 2pm.
When I told my parents that we had made reservations, my mom called me crazy and kept coming up with different scenarios, one more outrageous than the next.
My daughter and I spent the morning and early afternoon at the beach, and with every boat that left the dock with parasailers in tow, she asked if it was our turn yet. She was definitely showing excitement and asked a lot of questions about how we'd get up there. I showed her a few YouTube videos and explained how things would work, and I decided to go to the boardwalk area where the boats left from so she'd be able to see some flights up close.
She started to show a few nerves as we were called up to go over some safety information and as we got our vests and harnesses on, but never actually said she didn't want to do it. I asked her directly, got confirmation she still wanted to do it, and off we went.
Once we got on the boat with 3 other riders, the captain and assistant, we were asked who was going up first, she stood up and said ME OBVIOUSLY. This reinforced that she was ready, and really into it....conveniently, this is when I actually started getting nervous.
Once we got strapped onto the line it was only seconds before we started lifting off the boat and heading up. She let out a few screams as we continued going up, and then all of a sudden went silent, and for a moment I thought oh no, was this a bad decision. I looked over to find her smiling, from ear to ear, and waving to the crew on the boat as they recorded and took pictures - not a worry, or a care in the world.
While I gripped the ropes and sat completely still for our 10-minute ride, this kid took in every moment, checking out the views, waving to boats passing by, and singing her favorite songs at the top of her lungs.
After our landing, she told everyone on the boat how awesome it was, how "my mom was scared but I wasn't" and then asked if she could go back up again my little daredevil.
When we got off the boat and walked down the boardwalk I overheard someone say "I can't believe she brought that young child parasailing" but I decided to keep calm and not get into it with a random person while on vacation. I heard similar commentary after posting photos to social media - some people passive-aggressively saying 'how brave' we were, while others just came out saying I was nuts for doing it.
I gave MY child the option, confirmed she wanted to do it, reassured her that she didn't have to if she was scared, and in the end, she had a great time and we have the coolest memory to look back on from our trip.
So what's your take - was I crazy for allowing my five-and-a-half-year-old to do this with me? Weigh in.