Saturday, February 8, 2014

I am not the most relaxed [fill in the blank]

"I'm not going to cry today, Mama," Kai told me matter-of-factly en route to the mountain. "I'm just going to give you a GREAT. BIG. HUG." Context: Last week, Kai cried—sobbed—when we dropped him off at his snowboarding lessons. And then he was fine. 

Keeping his word, Kai did not cry. He hugged, great-big-style, just like he promised. And, then, from what I hear, Kai, age 3, proceeded to "kill it" on the hill. He rode down Sir Henry all by himself. With the five-year-olds. Julian, age 5, did not cry either. He gave me a hug and stoically waved me away. And then went on to connect S turns. First time. Fab day.

Tonight, gold-medal-guy Sage was called the "most relaxed competitor" in the Slopestyle.
Today, I earned the title of "most high-strung rider" at Smugg's.

Today, I cried - after dropping myself off at my snowboarding lesson. Last week had gone fairly well but I'd caught some edges and bruised my tailbone. All week, anytime I moved the wrong way, tailbone tenderness reminded me of my hard falls—and the UVM student who fatally crashed skiing at a different mountain on the same day. I worked myself up, bigtime. Adding to this was the fact Jon was staying in town to guest-lecture in a friend's class, so the responsibility of driving the boys to the mountain was all mine. Which also made me anxious. I convinced myself I didn't know how to get there (!!!) and actually GPS-ed the route (which seems completely ridiculous as I write it now).
Again, the boys' drop-off was entirely uneventful. Regardless, my anxiety continued to rise. To the point at which, after I left the little guys, I shut myself in my minivan and blasted songs like A-Punk and Oxford Comma in an attempt to calm the fuck down. It worked a little. It was time to go to my lesson. So I went. And then my instructor announced that since we'd been "rockstars" last week, we were heading straight to the lift and she was going to "push us." I protested. Weakly. She reiterated that we were ready to be pushed.

And that's when I started shedding tears and listing all the reasons I was scared shitless to "shred" on this day. I don't remember exactly what she said but it turned out to be the right stuff. My riding partner helped me rally. My tantrum meltdown was done. I was ready. Ready enough.

So we headed straight to the lift. My first few turns were tentative. My legs were super shaky (fear-adrenaline shaky, not tired-muscle trembly) at the end of the first run. But by the end of the day, I was snaking down the mountain and connecting tighter turns. I learned how to hold an edge to steer out of the way of speedy skiiers and a certain burgundy-clad beginner who always seemed to be riding wrecklessly out of control.  I even kept my balance and bantered back when Ben and Brian shouted to me from the lift. Basically, I kept up with my kids today. Physically if not emotionally.

It was a good day. A hard-won good day.

Next week: No tears. Just hugs.

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