Yesterday we spent a wonderful day at a ski hill about 1 hr. 40min. from where we live. It was so great to get out of town. I set aside my fears of spending a day feeling trapped in an unfamiliar place, with kids that are too young to ski just going stir crazy, and away we went! We brought our 13 year old neighbour, Haley, along too, so she could ski and to have an extra set of hands if we needed them. The drive was so nice. The roads were clear, Lily slept the whole way, and the kids were their usual happy selves. (Why do I worry) When we arrived the hardest part was waiting for Danny and Haley to get their rentals sorted out, before the kids' activity things were brought in. We did it though, and got the four of them dressed and out the door. I stood inside holding Lily, smiling at our tiny people on teeny tiny skis, when I noticed Haley hadn't correctly done up up her ski boots, struggling to put on her skis. She and Danny didn't see this, so I managed to go help Haley with her ski boots by passing Lily to a lady nearby who held her for a few minutes. Once we all calmed down, (Lily surprised me, by crying while I was outside), Lily slept in my arms for a long time, and everyone had a good time on the bunny hill.
Danny helped teach everyone, and when the bunny hill closed Willem hung out inside with Lily and I. I stayed put with Lily, and Willem ran all around, so happy to be able to move his little feet freely, unencumbered by those boots and skis, and yet so proud to have been a big boy skiing.
He asked everyone, "What are you doing?", he made friends, he convinced some very nice people to ask me if they could give him a cookie, and ended up getting a tour of the kitchen after it closed, by one of the staff. It was so nice to have time cuddling Lily and watching Willem engage with so many people. When Haley had enough time on the ski hill she came in, and I did a couple runs by myself. The hill had a great program where parents can share a pass, and I had my old ski equipment from when I lived in Banff, before we were married, so I was able to ski a little bit and still have it be worth it.
Danny said Astra went down the green run and was fine. She wanted me to go with her, which freaked me out. Even if she could do it, how could I bare to watch my little 5 year old? Skiing is a dangerous activity and that hill was STEEP! And ICY! I went along with it though, and Danny advised me to stay back from her so she wouldn't worry about me skiing into her. On the chair lift, I held my hand over her lap. (Eeeep!) She made sure I knew how to point my skis up when it was time to get off, and she showed me her special one-pole technique for moving across flat ground. As we went down, I kept my distance as she skied and fell, about 6 times. Each time I watched her get back up and keep going, like it was so big deal. What a brave girl! I'm so glad that she got the chance to manage risk, to overcome fear, and to prove to herself what she could accomplish! There are so many studies out about how we are keeping our kids too safe, and they're not learning to manage fear, to take risks, and to feel brave. Anxiety orders are on the rise, and I have to remind myself to protect my kids mentally, not just physically.
When we met Danny and Willem at the bottom, Astra proudly told Danny how well she'd done . We found Willem back on his skis, practicing with Danny on the flat ground. Haley was holding a happy, well-rested baby inside, and she'd been fine while I was gone. We packed up, and left, totally happy with our day.
Astra tried to get some pictures of deer we passed beside the road, but missed. One of them had looked VERY relaxed, laying beside the road, so we decided as parents, not to get closer for a picture and just let it be.
The kids fell asleep in the car and we talked over the day. When I told Danny how impressed with Astra's skiing I was, he told me that she HAD gotten scared, and he encouraged her to do it. She'd cried when she fell down, but he got her to pick herself back up. Wow. How interesting to have one parent go through all that with her, and when the other one came later, she was able to just show of her success, like a fresh start.
Lily was quiet the whole way back, and got a diaper change and necessary outfit change in the car, (There was no bathroom) when we stopped for some fries at a cute drive in. We just made it work! Such a great day! I'm so glad that I said yes to adventure, to a day with many unknowns and made great memories with my family!