How parasailing brought my son a minute of joy
I have two pre-teen sons who experienced their own trauma as a result of their family changing shape last year.
Our marriage had not been particularly high in conflict, in part because I am a chronic people pleaser and my ex preferred to walk away rather than engage in an argument. As result, we never really fought, and our kids were absolutely shocked when we told them about the divorce. They didn't see it coming.
Our divorce also hit in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they were still dealing with virtual school, cancelled activities and isolation from friends.
We told them about the divorce in January, and by July, they had more or less adapted to shuttling between two houses and accommodating their changing family structure. It wasn't without stress, however, and my younger son, in particular, struggled significantly with transition days from one house to the next for a long time.
When we took our family vacation with my parents, brother and sister-in-law, I let both boys pick an activity to do solo with me. My older, more cautious son selected kayaking. My younger daredevil picked parasailing. When we got to our boat and got strapped into our parachute, I looked at him and said, "Michael, you can yell anything you want at the top of the parasail. No one will hear you but me, and I promise not to ever tell. Just get up there and yell."
He grinned, and the boat took off. True to my word, I won't tell you what he yelled. (It's not really appropriate to repeat in polite company anyway). I know it helped him in that moment, and he still talks about how awesome that parasailing trip was.
On that day, My Minute of Joy came from helping Michael have one of his own.