Friday, February 3, 2012

Skis and Skates

"Let's go skiing!" I said to Brent on Friday night.

I was feeling frumpy and restless and wanted something NEW! and FUN! and EXCITING! to do with our weekend because laundry and grocery shopping just wasn't going to cut it. I've been feeling so over January ever since it started and I figured a wintery snow adventure just might carry us all right into February.

Jack is an experienced skier and we decided to go ahead and rent Sawyer a pair of skis because we figured we could afford an $8 show of equity.

Snacks, layers, books, lunches, sunglasses, gloves, knitting, blanky, etc.

And I smiled as I went to bed that night, because I just knew.

My alarm jolted me out of bed before dawn. While the three boys in my life slept on, I tiptoed around the kitchen making coffee and buttermilk oatmeal pancakes. I packed a bag with enough food to feed an army of preschoolers.

I knew I wasn't going to get to ski. I'd be applying sunscreen and wiping noses and finding fingers in gloves all day long. But I didn't care. I've had plenty of me days in my lifetime. This day was theirs.

There was a time when I thought it was kind of sad when people lived vicariously through their children. Then I had my own and now I see that you are living the moment when you stand beside your children and watch them take the steps that you took. Or the steps you wanted to take. Or maybe the steps that you never even knew about. There's nothing sad about that.

My mom saved these silly little books that I made when I was Jack's age. My protagonists were a pair of sisters named Threada and Bobbin and I can't remember much of the plot except that I think they lived in a tree in my front yard. In one of the stories, Threada or Bobbin gets lost and the other sister cries "I wish I had my sister back!"

I don't know what ever happened to those books. The pages were starting to yellow and the pencil marks were smeared because I had turned the pages and traced the words so many times. I wanted a sister of my own. I was living vicariously through Threada and Bobbin.

I chaperoned a middle school dance not too long ago and found myself watching two brothers interact in the goofy, inside jokey way that only brothers can. And I smiled because my boys have each other.

As the road curved up toward the mountain they chattered on about the snow and the chairlift and the very special ski helmets that they cradled in their laps. Brent and I spend a lot of time listening to them talk to each other these days. Jack has adopted a particularly charming habit of calling Sawyer "brother" as in "Brother, let me show you how to put your skis on."

And then days later we found ourselves at Skateworld and I inhaled the nostalgic smell of hot dogs and feet and cotton candy while my kids discovered the painful laws of gravity and the infectious quality of pop music.

Skating around that familiar blue rink reminded me of Saturday morning skating lessons during my elementary school years. Admittedly, I am not the most graceful person you will ever meet, but for some reason I convinced my parents to pay for lessons and at one point I even had my own skates and one of those weird skirted leotard outfits. I'm not sure I was ever particularly good at skating, but I did skate my little elementary school heart out, and it was Springfield in the 1980's so who really cares anyway.

(I did, actually. I remember crying in the Skateworld bathroom because I couldn't do the one maneuver that would have advanced me into the FOUR star class. Whatever. THREE star was cool, too.)

Around and around the rink I went with Jack gripping my hand and I wondered how many times I have circled that rink and if I held my mom's hand the first time I went around. Because it's been a long time and I don't remember anymore.

So I will keep on lugging that camera around with me, because someday we might forget who took Sawyer up the chairlift for the first time. And I know we will want to remember.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! All of it really, but mostly the parts about their brotherly affection. So glad to see them enjoying each other. And I love the way you put together perfect days for them and your sweet family - lucky guys to have loads of snacks, oatmeal buttermilk pancakes (yum!), and, best of all, documentation of who took Sawyer up the chairlift for the first time. Hope we can see you and the boys soon!