Single Mom Chic’s Bucket List



The other day I went to a theme park with my family. My father who has been battling cancer hadn’t been to a theme park in well over a decade. As we entered the park there was a roller coaster immediately to our right. I have been retired from roller coaster riding for a good 15 years and he probably hasn’t ridden one in over 20! But he begged and pleaded and guilted me.

“It’s on my bucket list he said.” How do you say no to your very brave almost 70-year-old father? You don’t. Okay, I conceded. I knew that no matter how terrible it was it wouldn’t last very long. I can do anything for 3 minutes I said to myself. By the way this is the same thing I say to myself to get through the last few minutes of a gruesome workout.

My father was all smiles while waiting in line and told us stories about his glory days, how he flew in a fighter jet and how he and I used to ride coasters together all the time. But that was years ago I reminded him…

The coaster ride was not as bad as I thought and to be honest I kind of enjoyed it in a self-inflicted torture kind of way. We got off the coaster and I looked over at my dad expecting to see the big grin I saw before I got on. Instead he looked like he had seen a ghost. “That was horrifying!” he said.  “I hated it! I wish I had never done that. It was all I could do to keep from vomiting! I am never doing anything like that again. What was I thinking?” “What?” I said. “What happened to the bucket list?” “Forget a bucket list!” he said angrily.

Only I couldn’t forget it. It got me to thinking about my own life and my own must do or bucket list. I didn’t want to wait until I was 70 to do the things I wanted to do and so what if you discovered you didn’t enjoy something on the list, at least you tried. At least you took the leap!

I want to smile and laugh and grin just as much as my dad did in that roller coaster line. I saw his inner child in his eyes and I want to experience that as often as possible. Now granted the outcome didn’t turn out like he had hoped, but that’s life right? We can’t decide what we love or hate without giving it a good try.

So here are 5 bucket list items for me

  • Road trip up route 66-I envision a convertible, preferably red, and possibly American, the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. We’ll sing old songs that come on the radio, meet lots of good people along the way and take amazing photos.
  • White water rafting- I am a lazy river kind of girl but I think this would be exhilarating. I envision myself paddling hard, heart pounding and laughing deliriously as the water smacks my face!
  • Tour Napa Valley- I would love to do the wine tour there. I’ve never met a winery I didn’t love and I have so many fond memories of Cali. A Nappa Valley tour would be the Super Bowl of wine tasting for me.
  • Parasailing-Now this is something that my dad did do in Jamaica a few years ago and he loved it. My mom said she screamed and closed her eyes the whole time but she admitted that it wasn’t as bad as she thought -which is code for she liked it too.
  • Visit Paris-No self-proclaimed fashion lover would leave this off the list. I see my self-strolling down a cobblestone street after an amazing day of sight seeing, shopping and eating crème brûlée!

Maybe I will love some of these bucket list items and maybe I will be disappointed or even God forbid- horrified by some of them, but at least I will have had the experience. As I settle into my forty’s (I just celebrated a birthday on Thursday) I cant help but think that I am halfway through my glorious life.

I have done some pretty wonderful things that were fulfilling to me, like… become a mom, watch the sunset on a cliff at Ricks Cafe in Jamaica, climb Dunns River Falls, bike on Assateague island where the wild ponies live, camp in a tent, visited the happiest place on earth, finished a Master’s Degree, wrote a book and met my soul mate, but I am not done yet…I plan to embrace life and have as many of those childhood wonder roller coaster line moments as possible.

So that is my bucket list for now. What are you dying to do?


Until Next Post,

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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

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