NIAGARA FALLS —
Eventually he realized that we were going to get closer — much closer — to this waterfall. The chatter stopped.
I stood with my back against the wall near the front of our Maid of the Mist, Sam standing with his back against my legs, and kept a hand on his shoulder and his other hand in mine. As we approached the falls and I started to lose the ability to see clearly (dratted glasses), I leaned over and, above the roar of the water, whispered, “Are you OK?”
A tiny whisper responded, “Yes, Mommy.”
And we stood in silence, moving through the wind and water and the thunder of the elements.
I could see him shake off the spell as we moved back out, as the spray and the noise subsided, turning to flash me that devil-may-care grin with a request to get closer to the railing again. The rest of our little mom-son date passed with a ramble around the state park, capped off by a stop for ice cream.
My request for what he thought of the experience resulted in the typical 5-year-old responses of “Awesome!” and “It was cool” and “I like the ice cream.” He tells me periodically that he wants to go back. I tell him we will, one of these days.
And I remember that for a few minutes, lost in the spell of the Falls, I’d seen even my adventurous, unflappable child speechless before the force of nature.
It was a lesson worth learning, for both of us.
Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @JillKeppeler.
IF YOU GO • WHAT: Maid of the Mist • WHEN: 9:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. weekdays and 9:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. weekends through Oct. 3; 9:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily Oct. 4 to 24. • WHERE: Niagara Reservation State Park at Prospect Point, Niagara Falls • COST: $15.50 for adults, $9 for children ages 6 to 12; free for children 5 and younger. • FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit maidofthemist.com.