Four years ago, my elder son, Nathan, was hobbling around with one ski, walking in circles - as per the ski instructor’s directions. He, along with five others, were learning to get comfortable with the concept of a long, skinny plank attached to his foot. I watched with pride that day as my boy was starting - what will hopefully be - a lifetime of enjoyment careening down a mountainside, gliding down steep slopes and bumpy moguls of fluffy white powder. His struggles that day of just adapting to the effects of gravity coupled with the desire to just get on the bunny hill, made me let out a sigh as I just couldn’t see the forest through the trees - that at some point he was going to get better. Much better.
Well, we’re now at that point. He is much better. Really good, in fact. So much so, that it’s boring for him to ski with me. I mean, how much fun could it really be when you’re the first one down to the lifts, looking up and waiting for everyone else to catch up? Or worse, stopping every few hundred feet just so that he can (sort of) ski next to one of us?
Now I’m not a bad skier but not an exceptional one either. You could say I’m pretty mediocre. That’s okay though - as I’d sooner hit the apres-ski scene these days than push my physical limits! I’m comfortable skiing advanced blues and even tackled a black this season. Beyond that, however, is beyond me.
My son, on the other hand, as tweens typically do (he’s 12), pushes himself to the limit. He’s a bit of an adrenaline junkie (didn’t get it from me) and goes searching for the bumps and loves skiing the treeline (which obviously makes me a very nervous mom). Luckily he’s still sensible (for now) and doesn’t go too fast - yet. He’ll conquer double blacks and moguls and is in love with the terrain park. How is he doing that you might ask? I’m certainly not skiing with him, nor is my boyfriend (who, like me, is an experienced but sensible skier), nor my younger, less experienced son - who is a “NO" child. More on him in a future post. You know the type.
So how does he do it? With one of his BFFs, that’s how. Luckily, his friend is the same skiing ability as him and the same age (they’re classmates) - so they pack their knapsacks with granola and protein bars and water bottles - and for the Type A mom in me, cell phones. They head out doing what they love - while the rest of us ski the moderate runs for the first 3 or 4 hours in the morning, then we meet for lunch, and repeat in the afternoon. It seems to be working well. Thank God his friend is a very lovely and well-behaved boy so the entire experience is a pleasant one!
I know that as a parent, I should be skiing more with him and there are times where I will do more of that. But for now, I know that my son wants to push - with caution - his own boundaries and experience what it’s like to be really good at something and have fun doing it. And if he can share that with a buddy, all the better. Hopefully we’ll be able to find a balance where he’ll be okay skiing with us and I don’t feel guilty holding him back.
No idea whether this is the right thing to do but I’m just going with it. And on the plus side - they’re out playing, getting great exercise, breathing in fresh air and growing as friends. These are memories that will last a lifetime and I can only hope that when he looks back on these days that he’ll be reminiscing with fondness.