When you get into something like skydiving, your life quickly becomes tailored around how you can get up into the sky again.
After finding my way into the sport during university I’ve managed to continue my sky diving career through sheer force of will, perseverance and ingenuity. Without the support of my parents, however, I don’t think I would have been able to make it up half as many times as I have.
The first time I told my parents that I was going skydiving I think my Mum nearly had a heart attack! My Dad saw the funny side of it, his quiet, well-mannered little girl had only spent a couple of weeks away from home and she was already planning on hurling herself out of a plane. The first few dives I made, my Mum made me promise her to call her before and after the jump. It was all I could do to stop her from making the 400-mile drive up to ‘support’ me!
Thankfully my Dad managed to talk her down from driving up and I successfully completed my first dive without the aid of my worried Mother whimpering on the sidelines. Since that first dive, and the dozens of subsequent ones, my Mum has continued to grow more at ease with my hobby, to the point where she no longer requires a phone call or a even a text to let her know that I’m heading up.
This year, I achieved something that I thought that would never happen. Despite years of resistance and a fear of heights, I managed to get my Mum up into a plane with me to join me on her very first skydive.
My Mum’s journey to her first sky dive began whilst we were booking a family holiday to France.
We’ve got a long tradition of taking long road trips from our homestead in Oxford over to Southern France every summer – this annual pilgrimage is something we all look forward to as it gives us all a chance to catch up properly and relive our youth. My Mum and Dad sit up in the front, bickering softly over directions, whilst my sister and I gossip and over-indulge on sweets, just like we did when we were kids.
This year, my Mum wanted us all to do something different. The usual villas in the South of France no longer held the same allure to her, she wanted to enjoy a fresh experience rather than reliving old ones. Seemingly at the end of her tether, I received a call from her out of the blue on Wednesday evening, asking me how much exactly a ‘sky dive trip’ cost that. Initially I thought she was worried about my financial situation, perhaps thinking that I’d buried myself in an insurmountable pile of debt in pursuit of an adrenaline fuelled life, but then I realised that she was curious about jumping herself.