We were racing against sunset as we hiked up the rocky hill to get to the cliffs to jump into the bay.
It was our first day camping at Killbear and we had just finished dinner. We had decided we would do cliff jumping the following day, but T was insistent, so the hubby and I decided, why the hell not.
We quickly got changed and hiked towards the cliff as the golden hour sun bathed the rocks, trees, beach and scenic Georgian Bay.
Jumping off these rocks is tradition at Killbear, one the hubby and I first discovered with friends over a decade ago and one we were excited to introduce to T when we first took him camping at age 1.
At age 5, in 2020, he leapt off the rocks for the first time, quite fearlessly.
I thought the three of us were the only ones dumb enough to be doing this close to night, but the spot was still busy.
I love that this is an all ages activity, parents passing down this past time to their children, older kids coaching younger kids, everyone patiently waiting their turn and cheering others on.
The hubby and I quickly jumped in and the cold refreshing water woke us up faster than coffee.
Surprisingly, T hesitated… and hesitated… until the sun went down and we had to call it a day.
He said he wasn’t scared of jumping, but rather, the water looked very cold. No worries nor biggie.
We went back the following afternoon, but the bay was like a wave pool – the strong winds had gusts up to 50 km per hour! – so we enjoyed watching stronger swimmers jump instead.
It was on Sunday morning, before going home, that we headed out for an early morning jump – our final outdoor swim for the summer.
The water was calm and T was determined and, with minimal hesitation, he jumped in.
My heart soared with him.
T first made this jump before at age 5, but it felt different this time.
It was the three-day build up, the determination to do it despite his initial hesitation, and it was the steps that took us there.
Life with a child with FASD requires us to be regimented with structure, as routines help our often impulsive kids build predictability, ease transitions and minimize meltdowns.
Disability or not, adults fall into set ways, our brains wired to follow structure and avoid risks that deviate from our patterns – because life experiences teach us to know better.
And on most days, who the hell has the time and energy when we’re just trying to make it to the end of our day in tact.
But we can all learn from kids like T, to live in the moment… to be spontaneous.
T may not have made that jump that first evening, but going up to those rocks treated us to an unexpected time, as we enjoyed a glorious sunset by the cliffs.
These painting-like views will be cemented in my mind for quite some time.
They remind me of what’s possible when you just give in and take a leap of faith.