My friends already know I gave up skiing a few years ago. It really wasn’t a stretch. I honestly never loved it and once my youngest began to fly past my embarrassing attempt at it, I was done. I immediately acknowledged that the role reversal of children now looking after mom on the slopes was an unnecessary irony. (Hey now. This admission isn’t indicative of my athleticism. I’m fairly certain I can still execute a near-perfect cartwheel – in heels if I haven’t been drinking – so there’s no shame here.)
Still, owning a ski timeshare week in Vermont tends to keep the sport alive and well in our family whether I like it or not.
Whereas I used to take one for the team, I now take one for myself. Actually I take more than one. I take a few.
Minutes, of course. Minutes of precious, evasive time.
I take some time off of work to join them. I take some time to catch up on reading, and writing, and relaxing in a quiet condo or lodge (or, who are we kidding, Black Bear Tavern) while my family tears up the slopes and it is amazing.
Totally and unabashedly a-m-a-z-i-n-g.
Even better, I’m at the point where I have completely removed myself from the skiing process entirely: the planning, the packing and all the procedures that go with it. I throw some stuff in a duffle bag, shop for some snacks and basically well, show up. Because of this, I do realize my right to eyeroll is diminished significantly for a few days.
During the ride up, when my minivan of testosterone unanimously voted on a dinner of Taco Bell with a side of KFC – even though I have been trying really, REALLY hard to cut calories — I didn’t complain.
When the remainder of the car ride subsequently became a gaseous, toxic tsunami of unbearable proportion, I didn’t flinch. Even when a voice from the back cried out through the hysterical laughter, “Ewww, I think I just felt blood…” Nope. No Mom-reaction at all.
When, upon arrival, the entire contents of the van came spilling out onto the snowy ground the moment a kid opened the back hatch, not a snicker left my lips. Shrug. Wasn’t me who packed loose underwear in a laundry basket. Wasn’t my shampoo and deodorant (and said underwear) that went rolling under cars. Fun fact: we unreasonable nagging moms tend to remember to zip OUR duffle bags. Just sayin.
When I saw a toothbrush sitting untouched and dry on the kitchen table all weekend, I truly didn’t care. I was on vacation.
When I realized that 50% of the four teenage boys in tow never saw the inside of a shower stall the whole time, I didn’t even care about that either.
When, at day’s end, the outnumbering gender took over the main living area and zoned out in front of ESPN for (what seemed like) hours, I sat among them, indifferent and accommodating.
I didn’t ignore my happy little ski crew — I met them all for lunch and dinner in between their runs and ran around taking pictures like I’m supposed to – but I just sorta did my own thing.
I relished a quiet condo and did things I never, ever do. I perused Facebook aimlessly – only this time without a judging, clucking spouse glaring at me from across the room.
I watched supremely bad television. Remember Jaws 2? I had it on every television in the unit so that while I went tidying and picking up throughout the various rooms I wouldn’t miss a minute. That. Was. Awesome.
In my time alone I even left on CMT (cough, that’s Country Music Television for those in the dark) all day long and, with no minions around to mock me, felt no indignity whatsoever. Again: awesome.
Even on the car ride home I refused to let their mayhem and (awful) music permeate my happy space. Hearing them all shamelessly sing (shout?) the lyrics to “I’m a Stoner,” “Talk Dirty to Me,” and “Drunk in Love” actually made me chuckle instead of wince. Hearing their man-child falsettos nail a four-part harmony to Katy Perry’s new song made me laugh out loud. Boys are funny aren’t they?
So it was a great time.
Unlike in years past, when I was a bumbling, scowling, cursing and freezing family naysayer, our winter bonding is now a win-win for all involved.
In fact, I may even bring up a non-skiing girlfriend next year to make it the ultimate in family vacations.