Recently we made a trip out west to do some snow skiing. It was the first time we had taken our children to “the big mountains.” I was a little bit worried about how they would handle the sight of the 14,000 foot peaks but determined not to let them know that I had any trepidation about it. “You are going to love it in the mountains of Colorado,” I convincingly cooed. “The natural beauty is spectacular.” They were sucked in by my enthusiasm and we all became more excited as we boarded the plane and settled in for the long plane ride.
When we got to the resort it was late at night and we had just gone through the mountains. I was scared. I am afraid of heights, generally, and the roads were dark, windy and snowy. My husband navigated us through the mountain pass as the children slept and I held on to the door and pressed the imaginary brake at my feet.
When we awoke the next morning, it was snowing and overcast. We skied together on the bunny hill to warm up and then we did a couple of beginner runs. “Mommy, my face is freezing,” My daughter exclaimed a little bit after lunch. “I don’t want to ski anymore.” I understood her complaint. The winds were gusting and it was snowing. The problem was that we had two more days of skiing. “Fine,” I said, thinking that I was better off to take her in than to force the issue. “Let’s go for a swim and meet Luke and Daddy later.”
Off to the pool we went. Two and a half hours later, waterlogged and tired, we went back to the room to sit by the fire and have dinner. My mind was racing towards the next day when the children were in ski school and I would ski with my husband.
I wasn’t sure that I would be able to ski very well. It had been nine years since I had been to Colorado and so much has happened with my body. I used to run more, ski more and do everything more, now I have had major surgery twice and been through chemotherapy. Would my body cooperate? I would find out soon enough.
I sent the children off to ski school the next morning with facemasks and goggles because it was so windy and cold. After leaving them, I joined my husband on the lift to go up the mountain. I looked down at the beautiful snow and thought, “Sure, I can do this.” Then we got further up the mountain. The winds were blowing fiercely and the chairlift swayed side to side. Again, I thought, “Sure, I can do this.” We got off the lift and started down our first run. The snow was blowing so hard I could barely see and all of a sudden my fear got the best of me. I looked down and the mountain was very steep. I had a pit in my stomach. How was I going to get down?
At that point it hit me. What was there to be afraid of? I already had been through one of the most difficult things I can imagine. My body survived and now I am strong again. I thought to myself, “I know I can do this. I am strong and healthy and this could be fun if I am not afraid.” So I looked back to my husband and challenged him. “See you to the bottom! Last one there buys hot chocolate!”