We took a trip recently. Our family drove to Branson for fall break. The kids had a blast, the parents had fun, and all was well with the world. Until this mama climbed into a cave-simulting box made of wood. A speleo box.
Have you ever been in one of these? This was not my first look at a speleo box. I had watched The Man climb into one of these a few months ago, here at this same cave in Missouri. Only the one he climbed into was indoors, built into a wall. It was much smaller, made for kids, and had trap doors that could be removed, should you get stuck somewhere inside.
And there he goes!
But he, being a big kid stuck in a 40 year old body, climbed in with laughter and made his way through this crazy thing, while I waited... and watched. I did not even dare climb in that box that day. I know my limits pretty well. And although I can employ mind-over-matter in many things, THIS is not one of them. So I passed.
But then our family came upon the outdoor speleo box a few weeks ago. And they all climbed inside, laughing and talking cheerfully. The kids loved it so much, they were climbing back in as soon as they finished.
Soon, all eyes turned to me. "Mom! Come in! This is so fun!!" my kids call. "Kim, seriously! You can do this! Come on!" The Man tosses out. And thus the internal monologue began.
Kim!, I says to mysef. Seriously. How bad could it be? Well, sef, it could be bad. I could get stuck in there. And I only see one escape panel. Plus, they're closing soon, and there may be no way out if you get stuck. PLUS. PLUS!! This is the stuff nightmares are made of! Now wait, Kim, let's get ahold of ourself here. So what, you get stuck. You just turn around and climb out. Come on, sister! Mind over matter! You do that all the time! You can totally climb in this huge box and conquer your fear!
Now, as the monologue is going, my kids are yelling out, "Mom! Take my picture!!" And I see their joy:
Even The Man is jovial, sending out an upside down horns sign in honor of the OU/Texas game that will be played the next day. And getting all caught up in their fun, I decide.... I CAN DO THIS! IT WILL NOT BE FUN! BUT I WILL CONQUER THIS BOX! IF THEY CAN DO IT, SO CAN I!!
And in I went. There were turns and climbs and although there were tight fits, I was making my way, thinking how well I was doing, not getting claustrophobic or anything. And then I took a turn upward.
I was in the back corner of this box. And I was sweating and wondering how a woman who can run 8 miles for fun could be this worn out. And when I went up the corner and turned to my left, it happened. My leg was stuck. I tried manuevering. I tried twisting. And then I realized it was my foot, that because of the length of my calf, could not clear the hole. But my side was being stabbed now, by the wood box underneath me at an odd angle. And I was starting to panic.
At about this time, my husband was standing outside the box, talking to me, and attempting to be encouraging when he said the words: "You're doing great! You're about 25% finished!" RRRrrrrrrttttt! STOP THE PRESSES. WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?? I'M NOT EVEN HALF WAY THROUGH?? AND I'M STUCK!!!!
I tried really hard. I wiggled my butt, I twisted some more. I yelled at Abby (behind me) to take off my shoe. Maybe that would help my foot clear the box. But nothing was changing, and that's when I had a sudden panicky need to abort my mission. "Get me out!" I yelled! "Help me! Abby! Move!! I've got to get out of here, NOW!!"
And out I backed, with more tenacity than I knew I owned. And when I was safely on the bench outside the box, I sat. Wondering how I had just escaped death's grasp. Fluffing my mussed hair, and wiping my dripping skin of it's sweat. And thanking GOD for SAVING ME! It was a bonafide miracle really, that I could come out of that darn box alive.
I almost died, you know.