Ahhhh, skiing. That outdoor sport where beautiful North Face families frolic in the snow, swooshing down the slopes together, only to gather fireside as the sun sets. The photographs are stunning, really. Do you have that picture in your mind?
Now picture this:
This past weekend, Mister POTL and I fired up and took the kids skiing. We thought that, at ages nine and five, they were finally ready. We arrived at the hotel and were instantly happy with our decision. The kids ran around, squealing and saying, “Look! We have a trundle bed! This is the best place ever!” Mister P. and I looked at each other. See, this was the stuff memories were made of.
Then we left for lunch. What was this? Minus thirteen not including the wind-chill? Eighty mile-per-hour wind gusts?
Let’s be clear. I am a self-declared “summer girl.” I am slightly to moderately depressed from the Winter Solstice to the Vernal Equinox. Something brings me down: be it the darkness, the frigid temperatures, the rampant norovirus, or the lack of flip-flops. I am not myself. But, I have decided to be the change. I have decided to embrace winter. I have bought fun hats, ponchos, ice skate, sleds, and downhill skis. I have decided to show my children how to love winter even if I don’t.
But Be-the-Change-Winter-Girl was nervous about these artic temperatures. Luckily, Mr. POTL, a true lover of winter, decided that skiing in -13 degree temperatures wouldn’t be good for anybody, so we lingered at our lunch restaurant, which also happened to be a bar/arcade. Everybody was happy.
As the afternoon wore on, we wondered, what could we do at a ski resort if we weren’t going to ski? We could go in the pool!
The lukewarm water was filled with pre-pubescent hockey players staying at the hotel for a tournament. Their moms sat in lounge chairs, wearing faux fur boots and form-fitting ski sweaters, talking to one another and playing on their iPads. I slunk past in my Land’s End skirted swimsuit and glowing white skin and forced my way in between the screaming boys (one of the only moms in the pool). JJ forgot that he actually knew how to swim and stood screeching on the side of the pool until we convinced him to climb in. At that point, he alternated clinging to our necks and various other body parts while thrashing violently.
Fast-forward: children crying about the cold, the wind, the wet hair, having to get changed, having to go out to dinner, having to get ready for bed…
I’ll spare you the details.
JJ is not the best sleeper, so Dave and I were excited that JJ would be in a trundle next to Mia. We knew this would make him feel happy and safe and maybe he’d actually sleep through the night. Besides, we were in an open loft, so our bed was right around the corner.
But when we finally got the kids in bed after the whining/crying/flailing about the wrong type of toothpaste, etc., JJ told us that he wanted to go home. He didn’t want to sleep anywhere but in his house. We tried to comfort him with numerous reasons why staying in this hotel would be ok and safe for everyone, but he wanted no part of it.
Mia was now mad that JJ was keeping her awake. She wanted him out of her room. And JJ wanted us in his room. Through a complicated, intricate series of musical beds, I ended up sleeping on a twin bed with the kids while Mr. POTL slept in what was to have been our bed twenty feet away.
Morning could not come fast enough. But when it came, the kids were so tired from the night’s musical beds that they were even further discombobulated. JJ declared that, not only did he not want to sleep away from home, but he also did not want to go to the bathroom away from home. The kids declared their ski socks too tight and too “seamy.” When it was time to go to breakfast, I said I wasn’t going anywhere with them (an adult tantrum). I stayed home, ate a granola bar, and tried to regain my mojo for the day ahead.
When they returned from breakfast, JJ squirmed on the floor, pleading not to go. I decided to stay with him at the hotel. He decided to go skiing.
That day, we “skied.” In other words, I schlepped ski equipment from one side of the mountain to the other while the kids tried to decide if they were going to ski or not. If they were going to do the J-bar or not. If they were too tired or not. I declared that I was leaving (another tantrum), but I had no car. I believe I also declared that I was never taking another family vacation.
Sure, there were ups in the midst of these downs. The kids loved the lodge hot dogs. I won’t get into the other downs, but I will say that I’m going to go Google “is teaching kids to ski a cause of alcoholism?”
Flash forward twenty-four hours:
We all go to breakfast together.
We all go to the top of the mountain together.
A nice man takes this photo of us, looking like a normal family whose kids haven’t been freaking out and whose mom hasn’t been having tantrums for the past day and a half.
We all ski down the mountain with snowflakes falling on us, stopping to laugh and congratulate one another.
I don’t know what my point is, but I think I need to link a survivor song to this blog. Happy Winter, everyone!