updated 11/11/2010 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 11/12/2010 AT 12:25 PM ET
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … Michelle Duggar?
The reality-TV mom on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting was game when she heard what daughter Jessa wanted for her 18th birthday on Nov. 4.
“She wanted to jump out of a plane,” says Michelle, 44. “And the last time everyone went, she was too young to go, and I was pregnant and couldn’t go.”
This time, she could. Last year, several of the older kids went skydiving with dad Jim Bob, 45, while Michelle and Jessa had to watch from the ground. So, last weekend, Michelle and Jessa took the leap together – each strapped to an experienced skydiver for tandem jumps. Michelle went 20 seconds before her daughter.
“It was one of the most amazing experiences,” says Michelle. “You step through the door of the plane, and then your stomach falls. When the parachute comes out, it is so peaceful. We are out in the Ozarks, and it is autumn. It is beautiful. It was a wonderful mom-and-daughter moment.”
Jim Bob offered support and encouragement, saying, “Michelle looks amazingly well. We are all doing wonderfully.”
Up next for the busiest mother in Tontitown, Ark.? Putting on Thanksgiving dinner for the whole clan, including oldest son Josh and his wife Anna, both 22, who just announced they are expecting their second child – Jim Bob and Michelle’s second grandchild – next summer.
The Duggar tradition is for each person to say one thing they are thankful for before eating. “We go around the table, from the youngest to the oldest, to say one thing,” says Michelle. “You can’t repeat what someone else has said they are thankful for, so it gets harder the longer it goes around.”
“It’s your meal ticket for dinner,” says Jim Bob.
The Duggars will be featured in the upcoming special 19 Kids and Counting: GrandDuggar First Birthday on Sunday, Nov. 14, at 8 p.m. on TLC.