Planet Playground on Flickr.
Today Emilie, my dad and I visited the Underground Salt Museum in Hutch. I wasn’t sure how she would do. Were having some potty delays and all I could envision was having to share an elevator with a group of strangers and my kid with crap in her pants for 650ft down.
We arrived at 10 and had to wait for 40 minutes for the tour. While waiting for the tour I gave her our extra camera and she started taking photos. I figured when we got down in the mine she could use the light from the camera as a “night light” or something to just make her feel a little safer. She took photos of everything in the welcome center. Twice. She was super happy.
We locked our bag in a locker and tried to use the potty. No luck on the potty. I prayed for the best.
You get a short safety video and then a hard hat and a rescue breather which sounded confusing as crap to operate but basically you wouldn’t need it anyway. Although to a five year old, it’s pretty heavy.
On the way down the elevator is in pitch black dark. Em got scared a little but she did good. Her ears popped at 300 ft down just like they told us they would. At 650 ft down we stepped out of the elevator and I handed the camera to her. She pretty much ran right into the mine caves and was saying “Wow,” over and over. It wasn’t until after being in the mine for about 30 minutes that she began to complain about the strap from the rescue breather they gave us to wear. It was pretty heavy. It was hurting her shoulder but she had to wear it. I stuffed the hood of her jacket under it as a cushion. That helped a little.
We saw all kinds of cool mine stuff and she was just eating it up. Then we went on the mine train ride. It was pretty dark and she said at a couple points that she was ready to leave. I think being in a strange dark massive cavernous hole in the earth will start to mess with even a five year old after a while. Several of the mine guides were surprised we did not want to take the separate tram car ride called the Dark Ride. I knew we didn’t need to do that and with a five year old its better to do what you came to and leave happy rather than wait for the storm to build and hit you. On that ride you get a piece of salt to take home. Since we weren’t doing that, a mine guide gave Emilie a piece of salt to take. She must have followed him around for minutes telling him, “Thank you for my salt rock!” It’s a real treat to witness genuine gratitude and happiness in your kid, especially over a salt rock. We walked back to the elevator and she thanked the guide there for the salt rock also. This time the guide left the light on for the ride up.
She had that salt rock in her pocket and was so careful with it on the way home.
I rinsed it under water like they told us to and it broke in half because salt is fragile as hell. But she still loves it. And I love it too. Because that silly rock reminds me of how brave and caring my daughter is and also how lucky I am to be her dad after spending the day with my dad in a salt mine.
Salt mines, man. Who knew?
Today marks an anniversary of sorts. Eight years ago was the darkest, worse day of my life. But each year on this day since, has marked: comfort, love, forgiveness, goodness, peace, redemption, life & light.
Today I am thankful for this:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good…
Hockey Is Ours - Nike (by niketraining)
the day after yesterday