Truth: I am a terrible skier. Having lived in Colorado for years, I hate to admit this to natives & non-natives alike.
In my early twenties, I learned to ski on the East Coast with some dear friends. Apparently, my focus was less on form & mostly just getting down the hill to après-ski. One winter, I traveled to Jackson Hole with this group of MUCH better skiers. These mountains were unlike any I’d encountered & looked as steep as skyscrapers. When I accidentally made my way onto a double-black-diamond catwalk (with my equally-terrible skier of an ex-husband next to me) I froze, panicked, sat down and cried. The steep slope below was covered with trees, moguls and cliffs with drop offs. This was a mountain I would hesitate to picnic on, let alone ski down quickly on two sticks. My solution; stay seated and likely die in the snow.
My ex on the other hand, was motivated by this challenge. Embracing imminent death, he forcibly dug his poles into the snow, hopped right to align his skis, looked over at me and said, “Well, there’s only one way down this mountain.” I could swear I heard a John Wayne twang to his voice at that moment. I watched him leap off the catwalk, looking every bit as confident as an Olympian. He proceeded to fall rather immediately, tumble head-first over the moguls, roll down at a terrifying speed and lose his both his poles and skis. I lost sight of him quickly.
I won’t go into my pathetic exit from the fetal position & journey down the mountain. Just know I made it to après-ski (my permanent spot for the remainder of vacation.) My ex made it down alive, relatively unscathed. I tell the story often, his twang deepening every time. Each time though, I think, “I wish I had been the one to jump.”
I use this story as a parenting lesson as often as possible. The boys laugh every time they hear my terrible imitation of their dad. My message; when hard things happen, even if they feel mountainous, jump in! Boys, the fear of the fall is real, but go into it head first. You’ll get through the challenge faster & have a great story to tell. It may be scary, you may fall, maybe even get hurt. But, you’ll also be able to say that you faced fear head-on, have some war wounds to brag about & learn to laugh at yourself along the way. Take the leap kiddos!!
I could take this lesson to heart & practice it myself. These dumb mountains seem to pop up more often than I expect. I’d rather my boys know me as the mom who fell flat on her face, than the one who gingerly contemplated her next steps. If I sound like Calamity Jane next time you see me, you’ll know it’s been a tough week.