Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Lately we've been thinking about a family ski trip to Colorado. We're a little commitment leary though. So yesterday rather than drive 950 miles and spend a boat load of money we drove 30 miles and gave skiing a try at Hidden Valley. It was just Kevin, me and the older girls. It was warm and sunny and a fantastic day to be outside. While the girls took lessons Kevin and I ventured out on our own. What a blast we had! We were giddy that after a 10 year hiatus we could still make it down the big hills that Hidden Valley calls slopes. By the time we returned to pick the girls up from ski school we'd all but packed the van for Colorado. I think we were even contemplating buying a cabin we can't afford. For Pete's sake we were envisioning Lucy cruising down black diamonds with Emma and Eleanor deep in training for Sochi 2014. Clearly the two of us need to get out more. Now, if we'd had a crystal ball into the future we'd have headed right to the car as soon as we picked the girls up. But no, Kevin and I were on a high from a little sun and exercise and we couldn't wait to see what our future Olympians could do. We spent the next hour using the rope tow with a hefty amount of trouble, but our girls came down those bunny hills beautifully-- I'm telling you, natural skiers. I knew it would be a challenge but I also believed that they could do a blue slope. So, in what turned out to be one of my worst ideas ever we got on the ski lift and headed to a blue. The girls were tired and cranky and Kevin, who had been a a real picture of patience all afternoon was sort of done with being patient. It was bad, bad, bad from the start. Emma fell coming off the lift and was furious. My response was "You did it, you got off, you did just great!" Her response was "I DID NOT DO GREAT, I FELL, FALLING IS NOT GREAT!". And that's when things really took a turn for the worst, that's when they saw the slope. Ear piercing screaming and crying began, "I can't do that, I'll never make it, it's too hard, I'll fall" Picture two little girls laying in the snow kicking and screaming. Literally kicking. Literally screaming. I couldn't quite figure out what to do. I tried encouraging them but it had zero effect. They were convinced they'd never make it down alive. Kevin started shouting about getting the ski patrol to take them down, and where was their work ethic, and what the heck was wrong with them. That tactic didn't really work either. Finally, Eleanor got up and tried to ski but she was such a mess that she couldn't remember a thing she had learned in ski school. She began shooting down the hill straight toward the trees. My heart sank and I started racing after her shouting "Just fall!". Thank God she did, but in my excitement to save her, I ran her over. She was face down in the snow, legs a tangled mess, with my skis all twisted up around her and sobbing hysterically. Kevin skied down to us. He started yelling and screaming, something about a waste of money, getting a grip, how in the world did this happen. And then I started laughing, it's a real character flaw, this laughing when everything is wrong. I just had absolutely no idea of what to do. Nobody was acting the way I'd thought they would. Ellie and I all tangled up, her crying like she'd lost a limb, Emma up at the top of the hill howling and thrashing about, Kevin screaming and yelling and telling us he was not out of control. Everything was out of control, it had all gone wrong. Eventually we got untangled and Eleanor slid the rest of the way down on her bottom. Emma took her skis off and walked down. It was horrible and humiliating. I was just hoping we didn't run into the girls' instructor as we slunk in to return our skis. Nobody talked. Thankfully we had two cars, Kevin took his, and we took the van, it gave him time to cool off. When we got into the car the girls said they had a really great time, until the end, and of course, I'm sorry momma. We talked about failure, because that blue slope was a great big fail. I wasn't mad, I was disappointed, we'd handled that failure just horribly. All 4 of us. I don't believe it's a coincidence that right now our sermon series at church is about failure. It gave me perspective for our mess. Today I've laughed so hard over what happened, but I've also seen all kinds of little signs that we need to make some changes. I saw all of us in a really clear light when we were faced with failure. I've been doing some thinking and planning, and well, I'm certain that this is not the end of the story.