Still need to post about Christmas. Oy. Why I can't just say it was lovely and leave it at that..but no. I need to post all my pictures. Remember all the moments. And then there's New Years. OK...breathe.
So, today we are laying around the house. It's Sunday..and that is officially my favorite Sunday activity. Nowhere do I feel more spiritual then in my pajamas at noon...drool still crusty on the side of my lip from the mid morning nap that Gavin let me take. Dishes in the sink. Juice left out on the counter. Cartoons on. Kids in pjs. A pile of laundry, half folded, strewn all over a chair. Sun pouring in from the front and side windows..tempting us to come join the world outside. No thanks. I get a cup of Chai with whole mile in my darling tea cup that Gavin got me for Christmas. It's flowerdy..and loud. I feel comfortable with it in my hand. There are others. None of them match. And at first I thought I'd take them back. I needed a set. Consistency. Who gets one of everything? But then again..who is over sipping chai tea with me in jammies at noon on a Sunday?..so who needs a set?
Where was I?...
So, there I am in La la land, when I check the messages on my cell phone. It has been on silent all morning. There is a message from my friend Julie..saying that they are heading out the door to ski..and were we going to join them? It was just her and her boys because her husband was hunting.
I ask Gavin if he wants to take Dalton. That's the fall-back. One of us will leave the house. Makes me feel a little less slovenly...not that I really feel that much angst over it. But Gavin is getting over a cold..that he caught from Dalton, who'd caught it from Shelby, who'd caught it from Garrett. And how I have not come down with it, is just more proof that when you're living righteously you are blessed...AND HOW.
So he declines. And I think..ah well, nice thought. But then he says, "Why don't [sorry, just heard Shelby down the hall, and had to run and intercept a nightmare. I don't know how successful I am..at intervening in the subconscious. Where she is deep in the midst of angst..where I hear the first moan of fright..or sadness..or worse, and I want to jump in. Jump in to her dream and rescue her. Turn the dream on it's heels, where all of a sudden she is safe and happy and calm.
She doesn't get nightmares often...thank goodness. It worries me. Makes me think that there is unhappiness that can't manifest itself in the sunlight, and can only show a shadow of itself in the dark. I think that her dreams should manifest her life..which I want to be wonderful. My children's bad dreams cause me to go looking under rocks..at any unhappiness that may have gone unnoticed, unattended to in the past. And so I soothe. I kiss her cheeks and tell her it's OK. I tell her I love her, as I smooth my palm over her hair. It seems to work for a moment. And then she turns over, away from me, and returns to the land of subconscious where I have no window in..no key.]
OK, so back to today..so Gavin says, "Why don't you take Dalton skiing?" Dalton hears this and says he wants to go. He wants to ski with his friend Jack. Then he realizes that it would be me, and not his dad taking him and suddenly he is having an internal war with himself. It could be great. He could do jumps with Jack and Luke. Have treats at the lodge. But his mother could embarrass him. Tell him that he's going to kill himself. Make him ski on bunny runs.
I tell Gavin that I am not in the mood. I have never skied at Solitude. I have never skied with the kids by myself. What if I get lost...and besides (the most important part) I don't think that I can keep up with Julie (who is this A-mazing telemark skier).
Suddenly Dalton chimes in, "Yeah, I don't want to have to worry about Mom getting hurt." Oh, how sweet. The real reason he doesn't want me around..I am a bumbling fool. "Pish tosh" Gavin says, in lingo that is not nearly that cute or out of the 1800's. "You are a good skier. Better than half the people up there. You'll be fine. It's a sunny day. It'll be great." Ugh. Just the energy I have to spend thinking about getting out of my pajamas is more than I want to expend at the moment.
But that said, Dalton is off getting his snow clothes on. And so I say to Sis, "Do you want to go skiing with us?" I say this not because I am a martyr who has some death wish..lugging TWO kids up the mountain by myself, but because I know that if I have Shelby, I have an excuse. An excuse to hang out in the lounge all afternoon when she pulls her, "I hate skiing and I never want to do it again" moments.
I tempt her with hot cocoa and brownies..wildlife that she is likely to see (ha) in the mountains. The vision of us holding hands as we coast down the "hill". She's in. Five hours of cartoons have filled her TV quota for the day.
Gavin loaded the car. Basically did everything but buckle me up and push on the gas pedal. He and Garrett waved as we drove away. It's at this point that I am thinking about the afternoon ahead of us. And it's kind of nice that it's already almost one o'clock because the elephant's already been cut up. Instead of this marathon ski day, where I feel I am being forced to ingest an entire elephant, I can go up to the ski resort with the knowledge that this will be drinks and apps elephantine.
So, I am breathing a little easier as I drive. And as I look around, at the valley that is passing me, I am not seeing the valley. I am seeing pollution. Sitting on every atom that is air..enveloping the entire Utah Wasatch front. Lord, it is ugly. Sickeningly ugly. It's not haze. It's not clouds. It's pollution. And I am leaving it for the day. Breathing getting easier on several accounts.
The canyon is breath-taking on all levels. I forget. I always do. And so, there I am..trying to take it all in, whilst keeping my eyes on the winding road. And so I am doing ten miles an hour, while the cars back up behind me. So sorry...just noticing life.
We reach the resort. Full parking lot. Oy. I find a space but it's a walk away. I will spare you the details of what ensued next, but let's just say that I found myself having the thought, "I will never divorce Gavin because I never want to do this on my own again." It's not that it was a killer. Dalton was uber-helpful. Like he was assisting someone who was mentally challenged. It's just that I was not in my comfort zone..to say the least. Shoe changes on the tailgate in the snow. Giant poles and skies to carry..and be in charge of..and not misplace. Lockers to rent. Goggles and gloves to keep track of. Keys and phones, and helmets...and "reminding myself to breathe".
We made it. Shelby carried her load, which consisted of Dalton's poles. Looked like a little Nordic doll in her Obermeyer pink ensemble. Dalton hauled his skies and my poles. I had (are you counting?) my skies, Shelby's skies, and the duffel bag. Holy Toledo...the things you can do when you set your mind to it!
Dalton quickly found his friends, made like a bird, and flew. And there were sis and I...looking at each other like "what in the hell did we get ourselves in to?"
I got her skies on her (oh yeah) and now my turn. After a few minutes a nice girl pointed out that the one I was having a problem with was backwards. "Breathe". We made it to the lift after about ten minutes of sashaying together. Thank goodness there was no line..and lift operators who saw the inexperience coming at them from a mile away. They stopped the chair for us. Shelby hopped on. "I used to be scared of this, because it's so high. But now I like it." Good. "Keep daughter from plummeting to her death," I am thinking as I try to keep hold of my skies and juggle my mitten that has come off. We get off successfully, but end up in somewhat of a snow ball at the end of exit ramp. Shelby doesn't seem too phased. Maybe because we're in it together.
In the back of my head, I keep hearing the phrase "the blind leading the blind" and start to semi-hyper-ventilate. "OK, let's do the pizza slices the whole way down," I say. "Well, not today. Today I'll just hold your hand." "Well, you are going to need those pizza slices." "I know, but I just want to ski down today." "Oy." So we begin. She is holding my pole, and we kind of end up criss-crossing our skies a few times, which ends in me frantically yelling "PEETZAHH SLICES" and us ending up in the snow. Finally she says, "I have no idea what PIZZA SLICES MEANS!..and I hate skiing..and I wish it was never invented." Great. Just great. Ruined the joy of skiing for my daughter in the first 30 seconds on the bunny hill, as happy carefree children pass us with smiling faces and concerned parents.
Shelby took a ski class last year. I just assumed that the hundred bucks we shelled out included some mention of the first law of skiing- PIZZA SLICES. But maybe she forgot. So, I tried to make it fun. We talked about all the disgusting kinds of pizza slices she could be. And I skied backwards, with her in front of me. This was good until she got going too fast and skied right through my legs, beaching herself on the powder off to the side. I then used my pole as a stick horse that she rode and I could control her with. There were still bumps. Every time she fell, it was like raising Lazarus from the dead. She lay there, in her contorted pretzel shape..and just saw it as a ripe opportunity to eat a new hand full of snow. I had to pry her from the hill like she was part of it.
When she would start going too fast, I would say, "Don't be a fry girl. We like pizza better!" After we made it down the bunny hill alive the first time, I was shocked when she said she wanted to go again. And so we did..and it was a titch better. At that point we went in to the lodge for brownies, and potato cheese soup. Dalton and the gang met us there and frothed at the mouth about the great runs they went on. "I want to ski some more," Shelby announced. And so it was. We headed back out. And run after run, it began to click. The last two runs she was on her own, perfect little pizza slice, parading down the bunny hill. Dalton was yelling how great she was. I was doing fist pumps in the air, as I skied backwards in front of her. She was wearing a grin from ear to ear. "I guess I love skiing now," she said, and continued to rave about how it was now her favorite thing to do. "Remember when you didn't know what a pizza slice was earlier, and how you said you hated skiing?! Can you believe how good you are now?" "It's because you taught me so good." And my heart lept.
Two darling exhausted kids piled in the car a little while later. Dalton had helped me to load it up. The DVD players were on. The heat was going. And in my mind the song that played was Cat Steven's Morning has broken. Not because it was morning..in fact the sun was low in the sky. But boy was it beautiful, like a new day, with the Canyon hugging me from every direction, and the sun casting a glow on the tops of all the sparkling trees. I felt very alive and glad that I had made it out of my pj's at noon.