Despite this I still feel like all this weight loss and life change crap is exceedingly tenuous and the possibility of my failing at it is just as real as it was when I *was* failing at it. What if I suddenly can lose no more weight? What if I gain it all back? I'm 35 - I could conceivably live another 35+ years, can I really do *this* for *that* long? I wonder if people who make a change in their lives always have that fear in their minds or if eventually they truly become the person they are acting like.
Moving on. The previous Saturday I had to take the kids skiing alone. Here's how it went:
I am a daughter of the south, albeit a college town with not many native southerners living there. I am used to heat and humidity and water skiing. Growing up in North Carolina, I didn’t own a “real” (i.e. providing any warmth) coat until I went to school in Boston. I had cousins that lived in Wisconsin so I knew what cold and snow were, but only as a condition visited upon vacation and left behind. (There was one time my parents sent me to “winter camp” outside of Madison over vacation and I remember being sent in jeans, cross country skiing with no snow pants and being so cold I couldn’t bring myself to move or speak so I peed in them instead of having to take them off. I was 9 or 10. I think I’ve sufficiently guilt tripped my parents about that but just in case not hope that does it mom and dad:)
We did go skiing a few times when I was growing up. Once we went up to the mountains of N.C.. My parents fought the entire time, I got stuck on the chair lift in the spray sites of the snow maker and was blasted by weird fake snow for half an hour and to top it off our car (my grandma’s OLDsmobile, grey on the outside with red velvet interior) couldn’t get traction on the hill up from our condo and slid backwards at such an alarming rate that my mom opened the backseat door and started yelling at my brother and I to jump. We did, and then stood and watched in horror at what we were sure was our parents demise, as the car slid to a stop inches (ok, probably feet, but not more than a meter!) from the cliff.
Now I live in the great north woods. My kids are accustomed to snow, and we have it on the ground 4-5 months out of the year. I can drive in it, I can sled in it, but what I can do best is get depressed and fat in it. Winters are long here. The sun sets by 4:30pm and when it’s cloudy (and it’s always cloudy) the light is gone an hour before that. The kids and I sit around, get on each others nerves, go sledding for half an hour and then come home and watch a movie. This is not how I want to spend 33% of my year and so, although we have talked about it for at least 2 years, we have finally taken the plunge and signed the kids up for (downhill) ski lessons. 6 weeks, up at the local ski place.
Today is the first day and, although Jeremy will be able to come with me every other weekend he is working this one. I was ridiculously disproportionately stressed out about getting all the crap we need up to the mountain. And while I say need what I really mean is that I packed enough to try and make myself feel better about subjecting my kids to what seems to me to be a long, cold and relatively unpleasant experience.
4 pbjs, 2 bagels and cream cheese, yogurt, cheese, bananas, energy bars, bottled water, a tin of cookies, raisins and apples. For 2 kids who never eat a damn thing anyway. Two pairs of gloves for each kid, snow pants, coats, extra layers, hand warmer things (what the hell is in those little baggies that makes them get so warm? Please don’t let Zeni eat one while out skiing…) And then there’s my crap. Computer, ipad, phone, headphones, work to get done on the non-existent wireless connection at the lodge.
So, we have a lot of shit. I look like a tool trying to herd the kids, who are tottering around like drunk 2 year olds in their boots, while carrying four bags of crap. Luckily Mount Spokane is not in Colorado, and there are plenty of other families screaming at their kids while lugging their own piles of crap around. There are also plenty of people skiing in jeans (that should make you feel better mom and dad!) and others in these neon orange camouflaged ski suites, which makes no sense because even if you could hunt whilst you skied your wearing BRIGHT ORANGE . Maybe they are wearing them with irony. There are also not a small number of people smoking electric cigarettes which are totally bizarre and although they don’t smell they do proffer smoke clouds.
So as I shiver in the lodge and curse the internet connection (or lack thereof) I can see the slopes and have seen each kid come down twice now. And they are SKIING. Hayden’s skis are parallel and he must have gotten over his terror of the ski lift at some point this morning and he did that “whoosh turn the skis parallel to the mountain and make that cool puff of snow” thing to stop. Zeni looks like a teeny tiny James Bond villain as she plows down the hill in her light blue snowsuit dodging in and out of other people until coming to a stop at the bottom.
And suddenly, shockingly, it’s all worth it. Maybe my kids will be good at this, or at least good enough to enjoy it. Maybe we can all ski together, as a family, and it will get us out of the house and doing something together on those long, dark weekends. Maybe I won’t dread winter as much.
It is a strange thing to watch your kids do something you cannot. I mean, I can get down the mountain but they will be better, and definitely faster, than me in a matter of weeks. Strange to watch them learn to love something I hardly understand, and strange to see how different their childhood is from mine in some very fundamental ways. Different climate, different hobbies, different parents, but not so different perhaps (hopefully) in terms of feeling loved and knowing that their parents support and are proud of them even if they lack a basic understanding of the things that delight their children.
So ski on my little bunnies. I hope for you many years on the slopes with good friends and few (bad) falls, and I hope that you do not turn into those totally annoying stoner ski bums or pricky kids with thousands of dollars in gear, but that maybe you are friends with them if you want to be, and I hope that if you are ever in a car sliding down a hill towards a cliff you have the good sense (and are not too stoned) to abandon ship, and to take your parents with you.