Today, my body is telling me that I have only one more week as a 46 year old, and turning 47 next Tuesday brings me even closer to the big 5-0.
How the heck did I get to be so old? And when did walking down all the stairs in this split level house we bought become so painful?
Oh, wait. I have an answer to that question. The second question, that is. My thighs started protesting stairs on Monday morning after an usually athletic weekend.
On Saturday, we went on our annual skiing trip. I’m not much of a skiier, so the girls and I took a lesson together. We had a great instructor this year! She went through the basics with us, and then we went up the ski lift to practice our turns. The girls both have great balance! Our instructor is also a guide for blind skiers, and we saw her later with a bright orange vest, guiding a blind skier to the ski lift. Isn’t that a neat program?
I think I embarrassed my daughter when I called out some teens that were trying to cut in line for the ski lift. I don’t care. I’m old. And they were wrong.
Sunday morning I woke up with sore ankles, mostly from where the rented ski boots rubbed against my shins. Other than that, I felt pretty good. That afternoon, the entire family was invited to a Girl Scout outing at the Sweatshop. You can imagine what we did while we were there! A very enthusiastic (young) man led us in exercising for a whole hour. He was amazing! The kids had a blast, and the parents had fun, too! The dance-off between the kids and parents was especially fun. The kids danced to Beyonce and the adults danced the Village People–YMCA, of course!
Working out at the gym using the treadmill and elliptical, however, is much different than bouncing around like Tigger on steroids for an hour. For the most part, I was able to keep up with all the exercising due to my gym visits, but then the next day my thighs complained bitterly. (And are still complaining, I might add!) Sometimes I have to remind myself that yes, I am older than many of the other moms. But I’ve also gone through a lot to get here, and I’m proud to be a 46-almost-47-year-old-mom.
Let’s see if I still feel the same way when I turn 50!
There are a few stories that Ed really likes to tell about me. One story is about Sunday mornings. According to him, I’m always running late and he is sitting in the car fuming, waiting for me to come outside. I think it’s a miracle that I get out the door at all, after dressing both the girls and myself. Plus, I have hair to blow dry and make-up to put on. He doesn’t.
Another one of his favorites is the time he took me skiing. He took me up to a hill that was a little steeper than he expected, and he wanted me to keep turning. I could turn right, but got stuck turning left. Then my fear of heights got the best of me and I started to cry. As I looked longingly at the top of the hill, Ed said, “You can’t walk back up to the top! The only way you can go is down.” While logically I knew this, having him say it didn’t make me feel any better! I eventually did ski to the bottom of that hill.
Before we got married, Ed would go on a yearly ski trip with his skiing buddies. After Lily was born, Ed went skiing on an overnight trip once, but soon after the ski trips stopped because everyone else was getting married and having kids as well. When Lily turned seven, he thought it was time to take her skiing for the first time. Emmy was still pretty young, so I stayed home with her and we had a special Mommy/Daughter day.
Skiing in the Midwest is always tricky. The weather has to be cold enough at night for the ski resorts to make snow. It’s not like we can drive up into the mountains where there really is natural snow, and many of the “mountains” are really just hills rising up out of farmland. We don’t have the money or the time to go skiing often, so our ski trip has become a once-a-year event. In 2013, Emmy and Lily both went for lessons. I went along to support Ed with both girls, but I didn’t do any skiing. I helped with the ski gear, watched the girls take lessons, and went into the lodge (which wasn’t very nice) to warm up. Last year, I had volunteered to help at a church event on the day Ed planned the ski trip, so he enlisted my brother to help out.
This year, Ed decided that this weekend would be the perfect time to go skiing. The weather would be above freezing, and yet we had had a lot of cold weather to build up the snow base. Plus, he has to start teaching a class on Saturday mornings in February, so now was the time to go.
I was debating taking a lesson this time around, because while it was fun watching my kids ski, it’s only fun for so long. Ed casually threw a printout in my direction one evening. Taking a private lesson wasn’t that expensive.
I thought about my choices. I could be the mom who didn’t ski, and I could bring my book and sit in the lodge and read. That wouldn’t be so bad, especially if we ever go to a nice ski resort. Curling up in front of a roaring fireplace with a good book sounds perfect!
Emmy, however, was resisting the thought of skiing. She was nervous and didn’t want to try it again. Slowly we convinced her it would be fun, but I could tell she was anxious. Maybe if her scaredy-cat Mom took a lesson, she’d feel less anxious. Plus, everyone I saw skiing down that mountain DID look like they were having fun!
So I did it. I signed up for the private lesson. I was hoping for an “experienced” instructor. To be honest, I didn’t want a young skier that would make me nervous! And the person arranging lessons matched me up with an older gentleman named Dave. I told Dave, that I hadn’t skied in ten years and that I wasn’t very good. We started off slow with the tow rope hill, but then I moved to the ski lift and the easy hill pretty quickly. I fell a couple of times and Dave asked, “Why did you fall?” He wasn’t being mean; he wanted me to figure out what NOT to do on skis! I got up pretty quickly as well which isn’t an easy thing to do with skis on. But I think those workouts at the gym paid off as I pushed myself up off the ground. My instructor made me feel more confident in what I was doing. He told me to “dive toward safety” which meant to lean forward. I thought I did pretty well for an old lady of 45-almost-46 years old. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.
I’m still not thrilled with heights, or with going fast, but I actually heard the swish of snow under my skis. I turned right and left. I made my way down the mountain slowly and cautiously. I had fun, but to be honest, it wasn’t the skiing that made me happy. It was being up at the top of the “mountain” with my kids and watching them ski down, and then skiing down after them. It was taking the ski lift with my girls instead of being left at the lodge. It was showing my kids that it’s good to try something new, even though I was scared.
Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do, but you did it anyway for your kids?
This weekend, we took advantage of the above-freezing temperatures and took a little road trip up to Wisconsin. It’s really more accurate to say that we took a little trip up the road! We jumped on Hwy 12 and took it all the way up to Wilmot Mountain. Those of you who live by mountains would call this mountain nothing more than a hill. But to those of us in the flat Midwestern states, we’ll call a hill a mountain, make some snow, and go skiing!
Skiing is not an easy thing to do, however, if you have a fear of heights like I do. Two years ago, I went to Wilmot Mountain with Ed and the girls, but I did not put on skis. I just watched everyone else ski! This year…well, I’ll tell you if I skied or not tomorrow.
Speaking of road trips, on Friday, I’m combining my Spin Cycle post with Ask Away Friday. I’ll be answering some travel questions from Tamara at Tamara (like) Camera, and she’s going to answer some of my travel questions!
For the Spin Cycle this week, I’m asking you (almost) the same questions I asked Tamara. Pick two or three of your favorite questions to answer, or answer them all!
Would you rather take a road trip or fly?
Where is your favorite place to travel?
Do you have any sanity-saving tips for traveling with kids?
If you could take a vacation without the kids, where would you go?
What is your favorite activity to do while traveling? Do you like to read, sleep, listen to music, or play games?
Is there a place you would travel to just for the food?
One of my goals is to someday come home to a clean house, but it hasn’t happened yet! When you leave your house for vacation, is it messy or clean?
What is one thing you would never travel without?
My husband cannot sit still for very long on vacation; he has to be constantly on the move. How about you? Would you rather have a relaxing vacation or have activities planned from morning ‘til night?
If you could photograph (or see) any place in the world, where would you go?
Link up the answers to some or all of these questions any day this week! On Friday, I’ll answer the questions Tamara asked me.
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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.