My friend sent a text. Can I kidnap you for a few hours tomorrow to ski? I can pick you up. Can have you home whenever you need to be back. I replied yes. There would be four of us meeting up, all my dear friends. They would all drive together and I'd meet them at the bottom of the Griz chair as I'd already be up there with my family. That morning it felt strange to say it out loud but I did: I don't want to go. I feel anti-social.
Andy encouraged me to go anyway, gently telling me I'd have a great time. I wasn't sure what my hangup was but I knew in my bones I wasn't up for it. We skied all morning with our kids and they each celebrated new accomplishments: Ruby took off without hesitation, turning her little wedged skis back and forth across the mountainside, Margot going off-trail and into the trees, squealing at the freedom and fun of ungroomed terrain. We were all smiles and high fives in the slowly falling snow.
I had a dream a few nights ago. I was changing from my nightgown into clothes in the dark early morning hours. I caught myself in the mirror and blinked repeatedly to understand what I saw. My midsection reflected an insanely muscular six pack, taught and ripped. I looked down and felt the tight landscape of my belly and then looked up into the mirror in disbelief. Hmm, I thought. How did I miss this happening to my body? Awesome.
For the first time since college, I have a season ski pass to our local hill. My husband has always had a pass, finding tiny windows of time to head up for a few runs once or twice a week. A pass didn't make sense when I worked an office job and it didn't make sense when I had small kids. I was happy to hang on the bunny hill and in the lodge with my girls. I noticed the difference of a decade in my life. When I was 20 I skied five days a week. I lived in a studio apartment in Jackson, Wyoming with three men (one of them Andy), a jar of peanut butter and no furniture. We all had the newest, best ski gear. At 30, I was using most all of that same old gear and had, honestly, no desire to hit it hard in the bowls. I breastfed my baby by the fire and I didn't miss a thing.
We had another kid and then they grew. Skiing was immediately a favorite family activity. The girls started out in tiny helmets in a backpack and graduated to the rope tow. Both on skis at two—just like I was—my ski instructor days came back in the best way. I taught my kids to ski, to stop, to have fun sliding down a mountain. My love for skiing reignited with a different flame that burned slow and steady. It was about togetherness, movement, hand-holding and hot cocoa.
I skied ahead of my family to meet my friends at the bottom of the Griz chair to tell them I wasn't going to join them for the afternoon. I skied fast, big turns across the slope toward the three tiny dots by the lift base. By the time I got there I had hesitantly but decidedly changed my mind. I kissed my family goodbye and hopped on the lift. Simply because I knew it was the right choice, not because I wanted to go.
In processing it with my friends, the root of my anxiety became clear. This was new. I don't do this: leave my family to be with friends. I see my friends a lot, together with our families. Or, I see them often in the evenings when our kids are in bed. Occasionally, we take off for an overnight at a hot springs. But I never do things with my friends when my family is doing something else together.
One run in and I was buoyed by my new legs. I was elated by these generous friendships, by the safety of admitting my goofiness among such strong women who nodded and knew, by the security of a mountain. My old gear didn't matter, my thighs burned as I slid down a snow-covered hill with three mamas until the lifts closed. If you looked with knowing eyes, our stretch-marked bellies were actually firm, muscley six-packs. We will be back next Sunday.
We adore Digs. THE original Mamaloder, she was one of our first regular writers. Check out all of her stuff here!