Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Woohoo! They did it!

The crew of the space shuttle managed to survive both a launch and re-entry with me watching!

See, for a lot of years, I refused to watch the space shuttle do anything.

I was home from school, sick, on January 28, 1986... I was 11 years old. My mother was at work a few blocks away, so I was by myself. I remember quite clearly, laying on the floor, flipping through the television channels to figure out which one was going to show Challenger's launch. The school had been making a big deal out of it because a teacher was going to be onboard. I thought, "Hey, cool! I'd better watch this." I found the channel just in time, and I watched as it lifted off... It went up, up, up...and then it exploded.

That was the first time I'd ever witnessed anyone die. Sure, it was on television. Sure, it was video taken from far away. But damn it, those were real people! I remember grabbing my dog, Ginger, and crying. I called my mom, and I'm not even sure she could understand what I was saying. It was very traumatic.

I avoided space missions like the plague after that. I avoided them so much that I didn't even realize that the Columbia exploded on re-entry in 2003. The first I heard of that was two weeks ago when Discovery launched!

I happened to catch the news that the Discovery was launching about an hour before it did...and I decided that, since I have three kids and all, the right thing to do would be to sit down with them and watch it take off. Let me tell you, I was holding my breath! I didn't want to have to explain to 4, 6, and 10yo kids what was happening if it blew up again. Thankfully, I didn't need to.

I couldn't wake Perrin this morning to get him to watch them come back. Alex? I'm not sure. We hollered down to him, and he has a tv in his room. But I don't know if he woke up enough to see it. Darcy sat on my lap and we watched it together.

And we clapped when it landed.