the first day your child gives YOU advice

I pretty much hate skiing. I’m trying, but there it is. I’ve done it three times now, and as I explained here and here, I was doing just fine without Chamonix on my bucket list, but my 5 and 7 year old boys were learning, and I wanted them to see that it was a worthy enterprise to step out of one’s comfort zone. And so last winter, I vowed to learn with them. 

Then I let them go a time or two with Daddy (and without me, for whatever lame reason I could make up) and now my two boys are crazy good, doing jumps and black-diamond runs while I do a white-knuckled granny trip or two down the bunny slope with a ski instructor. Last Saturday, they kept breezing by on their way to the “Iron Horse” run to watch me, and I kept gritting my teeth and trying to look like I was having fun, but it was icy and the instructor was giving me twenty things to concentrate on at once, and I just wanted to be done.

I got my reprieve when Connor said his gloves were all wet and I sooo unselfishly offered to take him into the lodge for lunch while my 6 year old and my husband did another run. As we sat over our french fries, Connor asked me if I had had fun.

ME: No. Not really. Is that okay to say? My hands hurt from gripping the poles so hard. All I’m doing is trying not to fall. 

My eight-year-old nodded sagely.

CONNOR: Yeah. If you worry too much, sometimes it can be hard to focus.


ME: Yeah. Yeah, that was it exactly.

CONNOR: And you need to focus. The next time you go up there, I want you to say: I’m going to do a really good job. I’m going to do a really good job. 

ME: … okay.

CONNOR: I want you to focus on just that. And then you won’t worry anymore. Okay, Mom?

Here was why I had come up to the mountain that day, why I had spent a hundred dollars on a ski lesson and skis and poles and helmet and a new set of mittens. It was to have the enormous privilege of having one of my children give me wonderful advice. It was to have that brief telescopic look at why it’s going to be okay when my children are all grown up: they are going to be such delightful people to know.