Several of my social media acquaintances recently posted about their experiences learning how to ski. To strap boards to your feet at -12 degrees Celsius and hurtle yourself down an icy mountain at age four is one thing ~ you bounce well, but to attempt it at age forty plus is incredibly brave, if somewhat treacherous. I’m pumped by their accomplishments, but I’m worried about what’s motivating them.
I’ve skied since I could walk, you know when they laced up boots, but that doesn’t make me a good skier. I faced the fact that I will never ski with my family because as they’ve progressed to double blacks, I’ve stayed on the green runs. In my early forties, skiing gave way to snow shoeing. Being a tentative skier, it’s better cardio and it keeps me in the alpine environment I love without the fear of broken bones [you know that small white female malady called osteoporosis].
Giving up skiing was difficult and even more so because my then husband took it personally. Maybe, he said, I need private lessons or perhaps boot heaters and better skis. It arrived finally into accusations about why, with thirty plus years of skiing under my belt, why wouldn’t I want to ski with them. Ouch! It felt like the moment when you tell your child not to be silly and to get their ass out onto the ski hill, only to find out that they actually have frostbite. Only I was the child and he the parent and he didn’t care about the frostbite.
As my skiing ended, so did the 22 year marriage. It had put into sharp relief that I was doing things not because I wanted to, but because I bought into a romanticized bully’s version of what shows as a good relationship. A family that skiis together …
This feeling came full circle again six years later when I frequented my new boyfriend’s hockey games. To only person in the bleachers, me, one of his team members said, you must be a new wife or a new girlfriend. Newly in love I didn’t pick up on this not-so-subtle hint of what was to come. Packing hot cocoa and a blanket, my fella quietly said perhaps I could stay home that night.
Wet salmon smacked up side of the head.
I was totally crushed and moped around the house for weeks bemoaning love lost, honeymoon over, blah blah blah
before I saw how silly I was being. I was too busy waxing poetic about my hot hockey playing “boyfriend” to realize that he really needed his guy time back. Nothing personal. I mean, do I want him at Book Club. Nope. Point taken.
What I want for our daughters and sons is a life where they count on themselves first for happiness. Not to be assessed by how much time and doing what activities with their families, but to be defined by if they show up for each other when needed.
At the end of the day, them skiing and me snowshoeing, I can still meet up with my kids and significant other in the hot tub to regale each other with stories of snow snakes, near misses and getting lost on the hill.
Ladies, keep skiing as long as you feel pleasure and challenge and if and when you’re ready for some extreme snowshoeing, call me 🙂