Friday, January 4, 2013

Parenting Is Like Skiing, But Harder

Rayne's primary motivation for my weaning Henry is for us to go away on a ski weekend. He grew up on the west coast, so skiing anything less than Vermont is a total joke to him.

Me, I'm from a klutzomanic family. I like to ski, but that's not the same as being good at it.

The last time I went skiing was in Park City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival (amazing, btw, you must go) two months before I got pregnant with Henry. It was my first time skiing out west, and I readily admit its superiority. Whereas in the east you are lucky to skid down a layer of ice, in the west carving fresh powder is a quotidian fact of life.

After skiing all week on perfect powder, I was feeling kind of cocky. I sped happily down an "easy" Green trail with a big dose of hubris coursing through my veins.

You all read King Lear in high school, right? What happens to be people with hubris? They FALL.

I was actually on the flat end of the trail when it happened. It was around 3:30 pm, and the temperature had begun to drop. A day of people skiing straight down the end of that easy hill had created slick ridges. My ski must have caught the edge of one because the next thing I knew, I was tumbling head over heels.

The offending ski popped off right away. On the first tumble, I hit my head and remember thinking, "Thank goodness I'm wearing a helmet."

I had that thought about three more times as I continued to somersault, bouncing each time on my noggin -- kind of like a gymnast, except not at all -- before skidding to a stop around 100 yards from where the first ski had abandoned ship. Every piece of equipment -- skis, poles, goggles, gloves -- was strewn about the slope.

Yard Sale!

Amazingly, my body was intact, which is more than I can say for my pride.

And so it is with parenting. Some days you are acutely aware that you are snow plowing down a Double Black Diamond trail, headed toward a fork whose options include "moguls" or "straight off a cliff." Other days you speed -- cocksure and oblivious -- down a sloping Green trail until you suddenly tumble head-first onto the craggy rocks of reality.

It's humbling, I'll say that much.

With parenting, though, as with little else, there is no choice but to pick up your poles and goggles and keep going. That singular distinction continues to awe me every day of little Henry's life.




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