Son: “Hey Mom, I want to hit the big jumps.”
Me: “Ok buddy, sounds good. Maybe think about, HEY… WAIT! STOP!!!” This is where said eight-year-old leaves his Mom in the dust.
Let’s back up a second. My son and daughter are both amazing little skiers. At 10 and 8, they have skied many areas that the majority of adults would wish for a diaper on, and have been doing so for several years. At age 4, still sans poles and needing a boost to get on the chair lift, my son skied his first side country lines, and as a complete family, we were officially off the bunny hill.
The whole family likes a little park run on groomer days. It makes me feel young. I spent years as a snowboard instructor and won the few boardercross and big air comps I entered back in the day. Mom on a board today would still shoot for the big jumps. My younger ego might have been at more than a low psi. Now in full mom mode, my days on a board have gotten fewer and farther between, and I have decided that just standing on a pair of skis is pretty dang comfortable. Let me clarify that those skis are telemark, and I don’t ski lazy. Lunging down a steep pitch at high speed is it’s own brand of adrenaline rush, and can go head to head with the float of a board. But, tele turns through the park? Landing a 40 foot gap with freed heels? I would rather not. A few box slides, some medium sized straight airs, but a hard no on the big ones. Current personal skiing guidelines dictate no injuries.
So let’s go back to getting left in the dust. Before he left me, I was trying to recommend a drive-by. A roll-over the knuckle to check the angle of the ramp. A double check on the gap distance. A speed test. Overlooking these things earned me a broken back at 21. Just trying to share my years of experience and a little physics-meets-snow lesson. Nope, not going to happen. That sweet kid just blew me off and went straight between the flags, full speed ahead. After digging my lower jaw out of the snow, I raced down to pick up the pieces of my boy and transport him to the hospital. But, wait, he wasn’t in pieces. He was on his behind, pushing his way up, and scooting to the side to clear the landing. Huh. He was ok. Crashed, but ok.
Me: “What were you thinking?! Wait, are you ok? Does anything hurt? What were you thinking?!”
Son: “I am fine. Let’s do it again.”
Yep, Mom of the Year here, I just yelled at my kid for doing something amazing. I was scared and reacted out of fear, when I should have shown encouragement and support.
We went back to the lift line and met up with Dad. My son informed him we were going back to the park and he was doing the big jumps again.
Obviously more laid back than Mom.
On the lift I did apologize for yelling and explained why I did it and that I was scared for him. I shared my words of infinite wisdom about angles and speed. Bottom line = no speed check. Full commitment.
We had a crowd of unknown young adults surrounding us at the drop-in, waiting to see what this little grom could do. They cheered him on and and gave encouragement. It was a total mom moment of feeling grateful to those around that were showing support for MY kid, even if it was to launch him over a 40-foot gap. Off he went. Clean take off, but a little dip of the ski tips had me panicking. Dad was grinning. My heart was in my throat as I headed after him. As I rolled the knuckle, I looked ahead and saw the little 8-year-old monster cruising confidently up the next ramp. The little punk had stuck his landing, well into the landing tranny, and was on his way into the next. I can’t think about without smiling. First, because HE DID IT!, but second because of the enormous courage and confidence he showed, even when someone with all this knowledge and experience discouraged him out of fear.
Our kids are amazing and are capable of amazing things, if we let them. Show support and love to the crazy and adventurous ideas your little ones have. We will all benefit from it.
Me, to Dad: “We’ve just been shown up by an 8-year-old.”