When I was seven, I told my mother that I wanted to learn how to ski.
Like most immigrants new to the country, my mother had never gone skiing before in her entire life and, at the age of 33, didn't feel compelled to start learning anytime soon. However, she was adamant in her desire to expose me and my brother to everything this country had to offer.
After doing some research, my mom found these discount group tours that would take us to the mountain and provide ski lessons. I remember how she'd wake up before sunrise in order to pack breakfast, lunch and snacks. Then, the three of us would get into this giant bus with a bunch of strangers and drive for several hours to the mountain. While I was in ski school, she would sit inside the lodge all day with a book and my little brother by her side.
Those early bus trips fostered my deep-seated love for skiing. Since then, I've been fortunate enough to ski at more than 50 different mountains in four different countries. I love it.
For a city boy like me, there are very few things in life more enjoyable than waking up early, putting on my ipod, and skiing by myself in the great outdoors. I love the peace and quiet. I love the solitude. I love the thrill of challenging yourself to overcome your fears. And besides, what's more fun than writing your name in pee on top of a secluded mountain?
Ever since the Peanut was born, I've been waiting to get her up on skis.
In fact, ever since she could speak, I've been working on getting her excited about skiing. If she asked me whether skiing was fun, I'd always reply, "Well, do you like chocolate cake? Ice cream? Penguins at the zoo? Staying up past your bedtime? Skiing is just like all that stuff...but even better!"
So, after waiting all season to find the right weekend, I finally decided that I was going to take Peanut skiing for the first time this past Sunday. Although at 3.5 years of age, she's still a little too young, I wanted her to get in a couple of days skiing this season so she could start getting really excited about it.
Fast forward to Sunday morning.
The night before, BossLady and I had gone to a friend's dinner party for his 35th birthday. It was an intimate gathering with a few close friends. However, my buddy counts among his close friends Sting, P.Diddy, Josh Hartnett, Dean Winters, and several other recognizable names. The dinner was totally bizarre and I think I ended up drinking half a bottle of vodka. I vaguely remember an extremely drunken conversation with P.Diddy, where I ended up giving him a man-hug and saying, "keep doing what you're doing, man." I'm lucky his bodyguard didn't beat the crap out of me for being such an idiot. Oh well.
Needless to say, I woke up early Sunday morning with a massive hangover. The last thing I wanted to do was get in the car, drive two hours, and give the Peanut ski lessons. All I wanted to do was die a slow death or eat bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwiches all day in front of the television.
But then suddenly I got the image in my head of my mother waking up before dawn so that her oldest son could learn how to ski. She didn't even like skiing and was doing everything possible to allow me to learn.
How could I not do the same for my own daughter? Selfish bastard!
I popped out of bed, swallowed about 10 Advils, and then jumped in the car with the Peanut. Three hours later, she was up on skis for the first time in her life. She was so tiny compared to all the other kids. And although there was one occasion where she had a mini-meltdown, she eventually started having a great time and was soon tearing down the mountain yelling "Yippee!"
She loved riding on the "magic carpet."
And hitting her friend C on the head while wearing helmets.
When we got home, she was so excited about having gone skiing that she wouldn't shut up about it. First, she talked BossLady's ear off over dinner. Then, she demanded on calling my brother and my parents to tell them that she "went skiing for the first time by her big-girl self." She even wanted to call all her teachers and friends at home to tell them about it.
Honestly, I don't know who was more excited: me or her. It was so amazingly cool to see my daughter having so much fun skiing for the first time. I felt like I'd been waiting for this moment forever and it only served to remind me about how many things I want her to experience during the course of her lifetime.
As the old bumper sticker says, "Life is short. Carpe Skiem."
What activity are you dying to do with your kid? Now or when they get older? And for parents of older kids, did you always find your children receptive to sharing some of your interests? Or were they like, "Pshaw, old man. Camping is for losers."