Okay, so I don’t write much anymore. Things around here are quite out of hand. And, yes, that’s my lame attempt at an excuse for not writing. Whatever. Let’s get on with it:
There isn’t much in life that surprises me anymore. Republicans, bad drivers, stupid parents…I’ve seen it all. Or so I thought. Last weekend, Mrs. C and I did something totally off-the-hook insane: we took the boys skiing. Realize that I haven’t been skiing in 8 years, because I sorta stopped when the Mixmaster was born and I took up hockey. But I used to love to ski, and we used to go several times a winter. And realize that our kids typically don’t take kindly to trying new things. They tried ice skating lessons a year or two ago, which turned into a fiasco, and they’re now taking swim lessons, which is going okay, but I absolutely have to prod them and be there to “encourage” them during such things. So while I’m naturally an optimistic person, I really didn’t have high hopes for this. In fact, when Mrs. C suggested it, I hesitated. “Are you feeling okay today, dear?” “Jeff, I just don’t want us to be one of those families that doesn’t ski.” “I understand that, but they’re 4 and 7. Isn’t that a little young to start skiing? I mean, I didn’t start until I was 24.” Needless to say, she talked me into it.
So we booked a condo at Sol Vista and went up Friday afternoon, after renting the boys skis for the season from Sports Authority. And buying them helmets. And gloves. And goggles. And new parkas. Damn, skiing’s expensive! And that’s before I bought them two days of ski school! But they were quite excited, because they absolutely love going to the mountains (The G-Man kept saying we were going to stay at a “cargo”). And they seemed to enjoy the thought of strapping skis to their feet; they even practiced at our house before we left.
Saturday morning we put them in ski school and hung out to watch. Knowing how skittish the boys can be, we just wanted to be prepared in case they were uncooperative. But they were doing pretty well, so I bought myself a 1/2 day lift ticket and rented skis and went skiing by myself in the afternoon while Mrs. C watched over the boys. Sunday morning, however, the Mixmaster was freaking out about ski school, and didn’t want anything to do with it. Why? He was scared of the chair lift. Which he went up on twice on Saturday. But for some reason, it was making him crazy Sunday morning. So we did the right thing and put him in ski school anyway, hoping that he’d get over it.
Which he didn’t. I was standing in the ski school lobby, giving G-Man his goggles that he’d forgotten, when an instructor and the Mixmaster walk up; the Mixmaster’s crying, and the instructor says to the person in charge, “Can you call The Mixmaster’s parents?” “Um, hi, I’m his dad.” Basically he was inconsolable and didn’t want to be there and they didn’t want him there, either, so I picked him up and took him up to the cafeteria for a snack.
Which is where you’d think this story ends, right? Skiing failed and the boys can try again when they’re 24. But an hour after flunking out of ski school, the Mixmaster comes up to me and says, “Daddy, get your skis. I want to ski with you.” “What?” “I want to ski with you.” Ummmmm, okay, I guess. I mean, I’m no expert and am certainly not qualified to teach a kid how to ski, but if I can get him out on the snow again maybe this weekend won’t be a total waste, right? So I get my skis and buy another lift ticket and we hop on the bunny hill lift (which is apparently not scary if you’re with your daddy) and we’re at the top and I’m showing him how to slow himself down with a snow plow and he’s taking to it like a Frenchman takes to caviar. Which means he’s picking it up quickly. We do that a couple of times and then he says, “Daddy, let’s go to the top of the mountain.” “Are you feeling okay today, son?” “I’m serious, daddy!” What the hell, right?
So we hop on the high speed lift and go to the top and we pick a green run to come down and, as my 7 year old son is skiing down a mountain next to me, I look over at him, doing his little snow plow shape with his skis, going almost as fast as I am, and I am simply overwhelmed by life. And this thought parks in my head like a tulip in springtime: “Not much surprises me anymore. But this? This is stunning.”
Needless to say, it was a beautiful moment. One of those moments that makes you stop and take a deep breath and count your blessings and realize what life’s supposed to be about.
On our way back to Denver we stopped at the Fraser Tubing Hill which, if you’ve never been, is the most fun a person can possibly have without being naked. Well, I suppose you could tube naked, but I imagine you’d freeze about halfway down the hill. Anyway, we rented 2 tubes for an hour and Mrs. C and I each held a son and went down the hill as many times as we could in that hour and it was ridiculously fun. And it was again one of those experiences that makes a person remember what we’re truly here for. And what a joy it is to live in Colorado. And what a joy it is to have children.