I once told a coworker I needed to marry a skier.
She told me I was being superficial.
“Marriages are based on more than that.”
We no longer stay in touch. But I did, indeed, marry a skier.
My favorite days with Hubs are on the mountains- it is my happy place, it’s his happy place, and I am so grateful we share this. Mountain vistas and powder are a love language.
We had dreams of bringing little skiers into this world.
We did not bring little skiers into this world.
But we did get nephews……poor little nephews who had absolutely no idea the skier expectations from their aunt and uncle.
And then I realized that teaching kiddos to love skiing is hard. Really hard. It’s filled with early mornings, cold hands, sore feet, hauling gear and thoughts of ‘why are we doing this?’ from both adults and kiddos.
And then they get it, just when everyone is about to give up; the feeling of flying, the magical ‘shoosh’ down the mountain, the cries of ‘whhhhooooopppppeeeee’……and your Auntie heart grows ten times; ten times by ten.
My auntie heart grew ten times this weekend. Our youngest nephew, the one we weren’t quite sure if he would love skiing, fell in love with skiing. Like any love affair, this process was fraught with uncertainty, a little fear and finally, joy.
Some of this may have been my fault.
Youngest Nephew (YN) and I were skiing on Saturday- it was time for lunch and we started making our way back to the house for a sammie. The road back was a blue run aptly named ‘Home Again.’ Another skier told me it was a mellow blue, something we could easily manage.
The first couple of turns were just fine and we slowly made our way Home….Again. We stopped as the road curved and the slope seemed to disappear, meaning it’s a bit steep. Holy Schmoly, not only was it steep but it twisted sharply to the left; over the curve was the ski area boundary and a significant drop-off.
I may have whispered an F-bomb or two.
The nephews call me Hehe, a nickname I love but when YN whispered, “Hehe, I’m kinda scared.”
I may have whispered another F-bomb.
“Buddy, I get it. But I am not going to let anything happen to you and we are going to get down this.” I told myself to pull it together and placed YN between my skis. I made a giant wedge from hell and we slipped down what was supposed to be ‘a road’.
We got down the first pitch.
“I think I need a rest,” said YN. And so we rested for a bit.
Home Again continued, slip, ski, rest, thank my doctor for a great new knee, kiss my gigantor quads. At one point we sang “You are my Sunshine” which was Samantha’s song, which made me cry, so we rested a little more.
It took us an hour to get Home Again. At the end, the road finally mellowed a bit and YN found this tremendous confidence. He was skiing, stopping, singing, and giggling.
We got to a fork in the road and took a rest. “Buddy, I am so stinkin’ proud of you. That was hard and scary, and you did great, bring it in.”
We exchanged a big bear hug. “Yeah, that was hard but kinda fun. I knew I could do it.”
He skied to the house just in time for Hubs, Popsie and his big brother to see his amazing finish. They cheered as he came to a perfect pizza stop. He casually took his skis off and went inside for a turkey sandwich.
I took my skis off and collapsed in a ski bank. Popsie found me later, “You okay, Hehe?”
We did not do Home Again, again, instead we did laps on a wide, very open blue run until the lift closed. When the slope mellowed, YN would tuck and put his arms behind him. “Whatcha doing, buddy?”
“This is how all the fast skiers ski……..Whoooopppppeeeeee.”
There are moments in life you will remember forever. This was a moment; when YN and I made our way down Home Again.