One With It!
I’m not a skier, although one day, I intend to learn. It’s on that list I’ve started creating. The one containing all those things I used to be afraid of but now seem somewhat determined to master or at least try, like horse-back riding and riding a motorcycle.
Skiing is not a sport my parents were familiar with when I was growing up, let alone could afford. My dad however, was an excellent ice-skater. Each year he’d take us to a little shop in Larchmont, where we would trade in the previous year’s skates for “newer”, bigger-foot-sized ones and have our blades sharpened. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the sparks flying from the blade-sharpening machine that was operated by the elderly man wearing goggles. The shop was on our way to Playland in Rye, NY, where there’s an ice-skating rink that the New York Rangers hockey team used to practice at and where my Dad taught us how to skate. Despite my Dad’s not-so-warm-and-fuzzy demeanor, somehow he was able to convey encouragement when teaching me how to skate; somehow the message came through loud and clear: I can do it. I can do it and I did. Maybe it was just by example, as I clearly remember how aesthetic he appeared gliding along the ice the way he did; like he was connected to it; like he was one with it; like he owned it.
My kids ski. It’s part of the curriculum at the schools they attend and for at least five Fridays in a row each winter since age five, they ski. My kids ski and I don’t. But I tell them and text them the same thing each time they go since the first time they went:
Be one with the mountain. One with the mountain! You can do it! Feel it. Own it. It’s yours!
It’s my mantra for them and it never occurred to me that they might actually “hear” me saying it. Probably in the same way it never occurred to my Dad that watching him coast so gracefully across the ice was so encouraging to me. It never dawned on me that is, until I found myself meeting up with my 10-year old skier in the ER last Friday night. For the first time since she started skiing, she took a bad fall while helping a friend and wrangled up her lower back muscles pretty badly when her butt smacked against the ice that was hiding beneath the soft, white powder. An X-ray needed to be taken, just to make sure.
“It’s your fault!” she said as I entered the hospital room. “You didn’t tell me to be one with the mountain this morning.That’s why this happened!”
There goes that “no instructions, no rule book” thing again when it comes to parenting. Any parent can attest to it, it’s a figure it out as you go along gig. “They” don’t come with manuals. You don’t always know what will impact their lives until perhaps it’s too late. And rest assured the one time you forget to do what they expect you to and something happens, it will be your fault!!
You try your best and hope for the best.
It’s never pleasant for a parent to be called onto to such a scene. But I’ve been down the ER road with my kids before, enough anyway to know it’s better to err on the side of caution than not. I took it in stride. And thankfully, nothing was fractured, this time.
When I got called out onto to the same scene three days later however, I was not exactly “taking it on with a smile”. Once a year I can handle, twice in the span of three days; not so much. This time, it was my boy who had taken a knee in his abdomen during a fast paced, aggressive game of basketball at school. Internal bleeding or a damaged organ was the fear but thankfully once again, my child left for the most part, unscathed. Never a dull moment. That’s the one thing all parents can be certain of.
Maybe I should have told him to “be one with the ball, Noah, one with the ball!”
For the record then and so there’s no mistake about it and hopefully no more visits to the ER, this year at least, I’m saying it now loud and clear:
Be one with it, guys, whatever it is you’re trying to do! You can do it! Feel it. Own it. It’s yours! Be one with it!
Did I mention it was my Dad’s birthday today? Happy birthday to my not-so-warm-and-fuzzy, but you got the message across anyway, Dad.
It had an impact. Thanks.
Photo Credit: #1, #3, #4 ©Karen Szczuka Teich & http://www.takingtheworldonwithasmile.com
Photo Credit #2 Playland Ice Rink