Driving through the brown farmlands of Illinois, we came around a curve and the white hills rose into view. The snow covering the ski mountain was not cloud generated, but made by snow machines. The emotions floating around in our car varied from anxiety to excitement. Emmy was vacillating between wanting to take ski lessons and wanting to drive home. Remembering the fun she had had last year, Lily could hardly wait for the day ahead.
I was along as part of the support team. I was the booted half, Ed was the half on skis. While I’m not much of a skier, Ed loves this winter sport. While we were dating, skiing was one of the first things he wanted to introduce to me. The problem, however, is that we live in the flat Midwest. A Midwestern ski resort is not big; it’s not fancy, but it does just fine as a place to learn and have fun.
Being in boots instead of skis made it easier for me to run errands and help out, even though most of the time I was just standing still and watching Emmy and Lily become more comfortable on skis.
Emmy amazed me with how quickly she learned to maneuver on skis. She shuffled up the carpet path on the learning hill easily, skied down the hill effortlessly, and got back in line to do it all over again without ever once crossing her skis and falling down.
Lily quickly remembered what she had learned on her ski trip last year, and at the end of her lesson, she learned how to use the tow rope. Oh, that was hard for me to watch! The first time she grabbed hold of the rope, it yanked her forward so hard that she fell flat on her face. The instructor gave her some tips, and then…the rope yanked her again! She lost her skis a couple times. Lily is tenacious, however. She finally got the hang of it and was able to get to the top of the hill. She skied gracefully between all the cones on the way down, not hitting one of them.
I was so grateful that Ed had been watching the weather carefully. The temperature was about 40 degrees, but it was windy. “You look cold, Mom!” one of the ski lift operators told me as he walked by. “You need to start dancing…it’s like the potty dance, except without the ‘having to pee’ part!” I laughed as I pulled my scarf up higher over my rosy cheeks.
Cold as I was, I was content. I’m glad that my children were learning something I don’t know how to do. I’m glad they were fearless in a place where I have been frozen by fear.
Maybe next year I’ll put the skis back on and try again to get over my fear of falling; my fear of heights. I know from experience that once I get that fear behind me, I’ll love the feeling of being on skis. But this winter, it was my time to just be there, watching and supporting my girls.