Parents

Riding A Roller Coaster Made Me My Son's Hero

Sixty-seven miles per hour on the longest floorless steel roller coaster in the world.
05/01/2017 01:00pm ET | Updated May 1, 2017
Julee Morrison

King’s Dominion Entrance with 1/3 Scale Eiffel Tower in background.

Today is Day 35 of my 28-day challenge diet. It’s my day to weigh in. I yawn. I stretch. I walk wearily to the bathroom, pull out the scale and step on the cold surface. I’m down another 4.2 pounds, making a total weight loss of 23 pounds.

I say nothing. Check the weather. Dress accordingly.

After a three-and-a-half hour drive, we arrive in Doswell. We check into our hotel across the street from the amusement park. I stand on the sidewalk looking across at the park I’ve partnered with for this weekend. I can hear the screams as the rides jolt, spin and whip the passengers. Then my eyes land on what I came to do ― The Dominator.

Between April and August last year, we came to this amusement park four times. They were all amazing adventures for my family, but each one left my heart breaking. You see, my then 10-year-old wanted me to ride the roller coaster with him.

At 270 pounds, I was over the rider weight limit. There was no way the seat belt would lock. Nothing is harder than telling your child “I can’t.” There are no excuses other than I let my weight get out of control.

So on that last visit of the year, I promised him, “I will lose the weight, and next time we come, I’ll ride the Dominator with you.”

It was hot and muggy as we walked across the parking lot. Through the gate, we headed straight to the roller coaster. We snapped a picture. I am terrified. My son, fearless.

Julee Morrison

My son and I getting ready to take on The Dominator at King’s Dominion

We waited for a few minutes to see if I would “fit” in the seat. Then, we gave up waiting for a mom who was apparently failing negotiations as her child kicked and screamed in the “size seat.” So I told my son, “I got this. Let’s go.”

We zig-zagged with the line. It was an hour and a half of fear building up in me. On the last line before climbing the stairs, my son said he was tired of waiting, and we could go. I told him, “Absolutely not.” I’d like to believe that was his fear showing, but I think it was just the heat and humidity taking its toll.

Julee Morrison

My son waiting in line with me

Next, in line, I took a deep breath. I wondered if I’d fit in the seat. I feared humility. I pondered why I was so brazen and just flaunted past that test seat with the screaming kid. I should have waited. It was too late now.

In the seat, it all came together.

I swallowed hard as the seat belt locked me in. It has been a decade since I dared ride a roller coaster. I looked back to see the five inversion loops that were my fate.

Julee Morrison

The Dominator

The car lurched forward. It jolted from our resting position. Then it burst forward without hesitation sending us along the rail at speeds that seemed to defy my comfort zone. Sixty-seven miles per hour to be exact on the longest floorless steel roller coaster in the world at 4,210 feet. Those loops? One of the largest vertical loops in the world.

I screamed the entire ride.

Then the car screeched to a halt, and I looked at my son. His grin seemed to swallow his face. He gave it a double thumbs up and clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, letting me know he approved of this ride.

As our feet hit the ground, my knees were weak and wobbly. He hugged me and said, “That was OP, Mom!”

I kept my promise. Since that last visit to the amusement park in August 2016, I’ve lost 33 pounds. I’m still working on the weight, but I rode the roller coaster and walked away as my son’s hero.

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©2017 Julee Morrison, as first published on Mommy’s Memorandum

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