My sister, Gabriella, is only 12 years old. (I know; my parents are crazy!) The best part about having such a younger sibling, though, is that I get to be part of a lot of her “firsts”. I took her on her first camping trip, I helped her catch her first fish, I took her on her first plane ride, I rode with her on her first water slide, and most recently I sat next to her on her first roller coaster ride. Last weekend at Knott’s Berry Farm, her bucketlist crossed with mine as we braved the ancient mysteries of the Temple of the Jaguar. Our journey took us high above, and through, the other rides and attractions of the park. I crossed off making someone else’s bucketlist dream come true (don’t worry, I still have plans on making it happen for others as well) and she crossed off riding a roller coaster.
When we first arrived at the park, I didn’t think to ask her if she wanted to ride on one of the roller coasters. She threw up in my car on twisty roads one too many times for me to even consider it, but after a few times on the smaller rides I threw it out there.
“Do you want to come on that roller coasters with me? It’s only a level 4; doesn’t look too bad.”
She said ok and I wanted to run toward it and jump on as quickly as possible. I didn’t want her to have time to change her mind.
Luckily, the line was short and it only took a few minutes before we were buckling in the seat. While we waited, I tried to distract her by chatting about other things and taking a bunch of ridiculous photos. She smiled awkwardly; her anticipation was obvious.
She asked me what would happen if she threw up but I just said, “I’m so confident that you’re not going to throw up that I’m sitting next to you. If it was going to happen, I’d be the one covered in it. You’ll be fine.” It must have done the trick because she buckled up and took a deep breath.
A huge smile was plastered across her face from the time we took off until the ride ended. She even let out a few excited yells along the way. I don’t know who was more proud, her for riding a roller coaster or me for taking her on it.
We rode three other roller coasters together including the Xcelerator which hydraulically launches you off the line at an electrifying top speed of 82 mph in 2.3 seconds through an exhilarating 205-foot ascent and immediate descent at a 90-degree angle.
Gabby’s adventurous spirit is slower starting out but with encouragement, she’s unstoppable. This week, roller coasters…. Who knows what I can convince her to do next.