and I decided to go sledding. Not our usual sledding at the resort, where
my job is to stand near the bottom and make sure no one goes crashing into a
tree, lake, or roadway. We went to a ski resort to go inner-tubing down
It will be fun, safer too, I figured. As we pulled in, the tubing
hills looked very tame next to the ski slopes, with straw and snow banks to
cushion the landing. Yes, this was a good idea, I thought. And then
we spoke to the attendant.
He explained that the first to slopes were tame, but the last two had
jumps. Someone just flew out of their tube and crashed, hitting their head
pretty hard on one of those. Hmmm. Well, we’ll just avoid those two
Up we went, dragging tubes behind us as we ascended up the side of the
mountain. The Worrier began to have second thoughts. “It will be
fun,” I assured him.
“You and I have a very different definition of fun,” he said. A
proud moment for me. I have passed on my sarcasm.
The plan was for me to go down with the Worrier, but when we got to the
top, things changed. There was a small shelf of compact snow and ice above
each chute, which was also made up of compact snow and ice. Everything was
white: chute, shelf, mountain to my right. I was completely
disoriented. Add to that a line of people waiting. A man and his
six-year-old son crowding past to get to the faster slopes. I just wanted
to get my son in his tube securely before I sent him careening down the
mountain. I had no idea how to get him and myself secure beforehand.
Line of people waiting impatiently, I finally got him in and sent him on his
way. I mean, the six-year-old just went down the jump slope by himself,
laughing all the way. It’s worth it, right? Fun, fun, fun.
Then it was my turn. Couldn’t turn back now. I shoved off
and down I flew. I expected that swirling rush of tickling excitement one
usually feels on a roller coaster or swing. Didn’t happen. Just
terror. Everything in me screaming, “This is the dumbest thing you’ve ever
done. Death is imminent!”
Bam, bam, smash, my rear end felt every imperfection of this ‘groomed’
slope. And then it was over. Thank you, Jesus. I stood up,
looking for my offspring, hoping they, too, survived, and found Daredevil
halfway up the mountain again. The Worrier found me.
“I might puke.”
The Reasoner encouraged us to get back up and try again.
Right. Can’t let the Worrier smell fear. It’ll be more fun this time
around. If not, maybe he would puke. That would be a good excuse to
sit out the rest of the day.
Unfortunately, it didn’t get better, and the Worrier didn’t puke.
I got dizzier each time I reached the top. I clutched at the boundary
sticks as I waited my turn, trying not to look down. Maybe I should have
eaten something before I got there. Maybe that was the problem.
“Just stand back here quietly and maybe he won’t see us,” I muttered to the
Worrier when we were safe at the bottom of the slope.
No such luck. The Reasoner found us. I explained my dizziness
problem and sat out until lunchtime. The Worrier got dragged up the
mountain. Just puke already, and we can all go home! Too bad the
Worrier was just as afraid of puking as careening down a mountain.
I felt a little better after a tray of chili-cheese nachos, and figured I’d
I started to panic even before I reached the top. I no longer
cared about keeping up a brave face. I whined to the Reasoner, “I DO NOT
like this!” He, of course, began to reason with me. “It’s no steeper than the hills
at the resort. Even if you fall, you’ll just slide a bit before coming to a stop,” etc. Not
Down I went, crying out to my maker the whole way. I’m done,
finito. I will sit my rump down on this bale of hay at the bottom of the
mountain and watch all of the other crazy people here have fun. People
were dragging their infants up the mountain. Insane. Others were
strapping sticks onto their kids’ feet and making them get yanked up the
mountain by the rope tow. Cruel. I nearly passed out watching
Daredevil slip and slide his way onto his inner-tube at the top of chute number
“That was awesome!” he said, after catching air and landing with a
“I’m glad you’re still alive,” I muttered.
As the day wore on, the Worrier started to tolerate the hill a little
more. The Daredevil rolled his eyes at me and whined, “Come on, Mom!” His tone
accused me of being lame. I looked over at the beautiful moms, sipping wine in
their designer snow suits, laughing as they sat at the bottom of the hill in
their Eddie Bauer folding chairs. Nobody was accusing them of being uncool.
Maybe I’d get to party at the bottom of the hill with the cool moms if I
wasn’t wearing sweats and a hand-me-down coat. Maybe if I could tolerate the
taste of wine, I wouldn’t be expected to hike up that mountain. Or maybe it was
something else. Maybe their kids didn’t expect them to do fun things with them.
My kids did, because that’s what I do. Crap.
Needless to say, I sucked it up, and went down the mountain again with my
boy. Twice. He might have even thought I was cool for doing it if I hadn’t cried
all the way down.