Throwing a Thursday to the Wind: Our iFLY San Antonio Experience

By design, I am a creature of habit who has to work really hard at increasing my spontaneous streak.

Correction: I am a creature of habit who has to work at having a spontaneous streak.

I don’t fly by the seat of my pants often, and if I do, not well. I read an article a while back about functioning in chaos and felt as if I contracted hives by merely imagining waking to a sink full of dishes and a washer full of clothes. With that dislike of chaos comes an extension to this mama’s day, usually in the form of washing the dishes and folding the clothes so I don’t wake up to what would most likely set my day off on the wrong foot. I take full ownership of these duties because their absence is one-hundred percent my pet peeve, and actually, I enjoy taking out some of my frustration on an unsuspecting roasting pan.

With one kiddo in Kindergarten and one still along for the ride while his sister partakes in activities, our afternoons seem to flow with ease, from horseback riding to piano and ballet. A schedule allows my six-year-old to know what to expect that afternoon and to lay the appropriate clothes on her floor for said activity. Her activities last no more than 30 minutes, and the instruction she receives from other adults/professionals is good for all involved parties. I take comfort in the predictability of our weekdays and the knowledge that we aren’t spreading ourselves too thin. Aside from the occasional mid-week birthday party, our weekdays don’t vary much. Having kiddos with 7:30 P.M. bedtimes and my aforementioned disdain for chaos leaves little to no time for other pastimes. In this season of my life, with one kiddo in school full-time and one home with me most of the time, wiggle room isn’t really possible—that is, until an opportunity came calling in the form of a flying lesson on a random Thursday afternoon.

Our friends, and one of Alamo City Moms Blog’s advertising partners, at iFLY San Antonio had no idea what was about to walk through their doors that day: a dad who was way too excited for this chance to fly, a mother who was a nervous Nelly from the time she accepted the offer, one Kindergartner who thought the experience would be cool but really wanted to see if her mom would actually go through with it, and a little three-year-old boy who happily followed in suit of everyone else. So there we were, signing waivers, trying out goggles and helmets, and watching highlight reels of the carefree fliers. Looking back on all my questions, comments, concerns, and fears of this scheduled flight, I can laugh at myself now and the fact that I probably gave the instructors a good chuckle for the break room. As high strung as I am, I thought for sure I would send the instructors running for the clouds before our time was up. In any event, they took my near panic mode questions in stride and calmly helped me into the proper fly attire, accessories, and mood. I am pretty sure their last reassuring statement was that some hosts of Today are fans of iFLY, and that if Kathie Lee and Hoda could do it, I would be just fine.

We all decided it would be best if I took my flight first, and the jury is still out as to whether that was for laughs or some personality experiment on their end. Nevertheless, I took what I learned from the iFLY classroom and the uplifting words of our instructor, and put one shaking foot in front of the other. With a deep breath in, a long exhale out, and arms above my head, I leaned forward into the wind and channeled my inner Elsa.

There was no roller coaster stomach drop. There was no fear of plummeting toward a great abyss below me (it is an indoor, well maintained, highly professional wind tunnel after all). There was nothing stopping me from having an experience like no other. Thanks to the gentle arm and leg corrections from my instructor, who was by my side at all times, my spontaneous Thursday afternoon flight was one of the most exhilarating minutes of my life. Using the hand signals we learned helped me adjust when needed, all the while knowing when I could—gasp!—relax and have fun.

My family and I took the moment to treat ourselves to two, one-minute rounds of flight time. Prior to my first flight, I was ready to pass that second minute onto my kids and/or husband as if we were on a game show of sorts. But within seconds of my first flight, I knew I was going to covet that second minute more than I would the kids’ Twix bars from Easter. As my fear subsided during the initial flight, my second minute in the chamber afforded me the chance to let loose and fly a little on the wild side. The instructor asked if I would like to fly higher up the chamber this time; my response was, “Maybe??” This person, who must possess the patience of a saint, recognized my hesitation yet desire, took my arms, and slowly helped me fly toward what I felt was the top of the sky. Thanks to his professionalism, I reached new personal heights that day. Thanks to his encouragement, I pushed a little and let go. Thanks to iFLY, I gave my kiddos a new picture of their mom, high above them in a wind tunnel.

Throwing our regularly scheduled Thursday to the wind gave me more than just a playful picture to post to social media. It, once again, gave my kids the chance to see Mama outside of “Mom Mode,” while experiencing something unique for themselves. The instructors at iFLY worked to maximize the most out of our flying time while tailoring their guidance and commentary to fit our goals for the flight.

Our afternoon was a bit lighter, our smiles a bit bigger, and our bellies more full of laughter. The pictures and videos are a delight to view and gave our family members something to talk about for the week. Our certificates of official flight are proudly displayed on our refrigerator for all to see, right next to our color-coded weekly schedule.

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