Or more appropriately over New Year, let’s go fly a child.
New Years day, Bonzo, me, and a few token Irishmen and a Malaysian headed to the Giant’s Causeway. This had been on my ‘bucket list’ for a long time, and it doesn’t disappoint.
When we arrived the weather was vile. Even for those living in Northern Ireland it had to top vileness in weather terms. I, being the oldest by many years, took the very grown up decision that our long walk would start in a National Trust cafe with a warm cup of coffee. Good decision, as the rain stopped and the sun came out. If only for a while.
So, off we went. Bonzo loved the sea, the waves, the climbing, the jumping, the posing and generally having fun with big people.
During our saunter along the coast, we had sun, sleet, hail, rain and wind. Lots of it – especially the wind.
Then we had to climb steps – 137 of them if my memory isn’t playing tricks.
Bonzo ran up the steps, I puffed up behind him, making excuses to look at the view so that I can catch my breath!
Just near the top of the steps there is a corner, a corner only for the brave – as we turned this corner – whoosh, the wind was so strong, that Bonzo was blown off the steps, thankfully straight into me.
Here we stood, one of us screaming & rigid, one of us trying to hold a dead weight, a shopping bag (don’t ask) and a camera. Bonzo was absolutely terrified, white as a sheet and unwilling to move. Now, for anyone who hasn’t tried it, I don’t recommend trying to balance yourself, a child and your shopping on step number 133 of 137 in gale force winds.
I really can’t remember how I got him off the steps – 1 friend took my bag and I think I just dragged him to the top.
We found a handy cliff sized bench and I calmed him down. Tried to make jokes about flying boys instead of kites (ok, it wasn’t funny) and generally cheer the chap up.
He calmed quite quickly, but bear in mind we were now on top of a cliff, the wind was still strong and we still had to get back to base.
Nervously he agreed to set off with us – good job really, and Little Lu and I took a hand each whilst Little Ma ran ahead and behind taking pictures and doing scary things on cliffs that only 23 year olds can do!
Bonzo relaxed and disaster struck.
The wind had calmed to the point of being able to hear each other and I think, though again I can’t remember, Bonzo had decided it was safe to let go of my hand. (I will just add here, we were on top of a cliff, but there was either a fence or a big distance between us and the drop!).
From nowhere came a gust of wind so strong, that this time Bonzo took off. Into the sky. Ok, not very far or very high, but he left the ground. And this time there was no calming him. It took all the strength that Little Lu & I had to keep him on the ground and pull him through, what was about a 10 metre wind tunnel.
We both just pulled a screaming child.
Now, I have resisted doing art therapy with Bonzo, though it has been suggested by several people, but it seems I don’t need to do anything formal, as here is his version, done without being asked of what happened.
I am the big purple faced goon on the left, then we have Little Lu, Bonzo falling off the cliff (slightly over dramatised) and Little Ma at the end.
We, eventually made it back to the visitor center, and yet again managed to calm Bonzo down. From when he had taken off, although he didn’t scream for more than a few minutes, he couldn’t stop his sobbing and was shaking as we walked. When we got inside I took his coat off him and he was absolutely drenched with sweat – and from the outside temperature, this could only have been from fear.
So, a treat from the shop for being a brave boy, chocolate for me for keeping myself together, and a warm car ride home for us all.
Bonzo survived, but he is still telling anyone that will listen that he blew off a cliff.
For a little boy with more trauma in his 5 years than most have in 105 years he didn’t really need a ‘trauma top up’. But, perhaps positively I have managed to talk about ‘Mummy keeping him safe’ etc many times over the past couple of weeks. I haven’t however pointed out that it was Mummy’s idea to go in the first place!
So, my heart is now beating normally again, Bonzo is chatting happily about the experience, but I don’t think I’ll get him near a cliff again for quite some time, if ever!