The thing about your kids getting older — as if there was just one thing and you could possibly encapsulate coming of age with a simple synopsis — anyway, the thing about your kids getting older is that you find yourself less of a presence in their significant experiences. Oh, you’re still around, you know, close enough to offer instruction or gleam some sort of lesson of lasting import. Just not close enough, it seems, to curtail unwise decisions.
The thing about your kids getting older is that life is now imparting instruction not just you.
I’ve ranted, bitched and moaned about the ridiculously frigid winters in Ohio for as long as I’ve had the privilege to experience the ridiculously frigid winters in Ohio. I’ve made no bones of the fact that I dislike them. I hate them. I loathe them. Is there a more harsh or damning sentiment that I could use to strike home my point?
How about — They fucking suck!!!
I feel, though, that after 11 years of succumbing to the misery that is winter in America’s Heartland that this one is different. Something has changed. No, I’ve not warmed to the winter climate but I’ve found a way to embrace it’s bite. I’ve found a way to appreciate the bitter.
The kids and I have taken to snow skiing this winter and it has single handedly given me purpose and a reason to not anticipate spring’s arrival with such voracity. (Seriously, what better suggestion is there for a wintertime activity for a 45 year old out of shape dude with no ACL in his left knee that has never skied in his life than learning to snow ski?)
Cold weather be damned, we look forward to the weekends when we can spend our time outside learning to shred. I know, that term is more applicable to snow boarding. How about sling some powder? Kick up the puff? Or in my case, throw a yard sale? (That’s when you lose articles of gear and clothing as you tumble down the hill.)
The kids absolutely love it. Zoë of course, is a natural and Zane and Zia are following suit. All three are comfortable independently riding the chair lift on the beginner slope and making their way back down the hill. The twins are still trying to get the hang of it all — three lessons and they have finally figured out how to get their boots into the skis — but are improving with each outing.
Funny thing is that I’ve yet to hear a single complaint from any of the kids about being cold. Not once! Yesterday, we hit the slopes at 9:30 in the morning. It was 3 degrees. By noon the temperatures had risen to almost 10. Almost.
It was really freaking cold — but no one complained.
After the kids’ lessons Zoë, Zane and Zia took out for the more challenging beginner slopes while I helped the twins on the bunny slope. About 30 minutes had passed when Zoë skied up to me and asked, “Did you see Zane’s mouth? It’s bleeding.”
“Oh no, Zoë! What happened? Is he OK?”
I was having flashbacks to our very first outing this season. Zane who had taken quite a few falls throughout the day said that he saw clear snow in front of him all the way to the bottom and had determined that he was not going to fall for at least one run. He didn’t, either. Until he crashed into the wooden fence at the bottom of the hill. Poor kid had a bruise on his thigh the size of a softball for weeks. He’d since been pretty cautious with his skiing and I feared he’d let loose again.
“Maybe he should tell you.”
A few minutes later Zane skied by and I asked, “Zane. Are you OK? What happened to your mouth?”
“Well, it’s not my mouth,” he sheepishly said. “It’s my tongue.”
“What happened to you tongue?”
“Well, I was riding the chair lift with Zoë and wanted to see if it was true that if you licked a metal pole when it was freezing your tongue would stick,” he said.
“And….?” I asked.
And with that he spit, staining the snow with the bright orange-red of his still bleeding tongue.
Life lesson learned. I was laughing too much to add anything of significance.