"I think every part of my body hurts," I said to my daughter.
"Me, too," she said. We sat quietly for a moment. "Maybe not my stomach," she said. "Or my breasts. But everything else."
I had intended to ski yesterday. I've been downhill skiing for three years now and I am comfortable on skis. I had planned to go to the slopes and ski down gracefully, admiring the view, enjoying the gorgeous winter weather. I was going to take the digital camera to the terrain park to take shots of Boy in Black and Shaggy Hair Boy hitting some of the jumps. Instead I spent a large part of the day facedown in the snow – or lying on my back in the snow complaining how much my butt hurt.
It’s all my daughter's fault. She had the brilliant idea that I should try snowboarding. You are probably thinking, how sweet, her daughter must be a snowboarding enthusiast and she wanted to introduce her mother to a sport she loves.
But real story is that my Smart Wonderful Beautiful Daughter has never skied or snowboarded before. And this year, she promised her brothers she would come home from college six Sundays in a row during the season and learn to snowboard with them. It's really her last chance for this kind of family bonding, because next year at this time she will be spending a semester in Famous European City Where They Make a Big Deal Out of the Royal Family. And by next year, Boy in Black will be in college.
Somehow, Daughter convinced me that taking snowboard lessons together would be a wonderful mother/daughter bonding experience. She wasn't at all sure about her ability to snowboard and I guess she figured that if she was going to hurt herself on the slopes, she would take me down with her. Or perhaps she wanted someone in the class to look more foolish than she. A good strategy, it turns out.
I admit that it was really fun. Snowboarding is a different motion than skiing, more like surfing or skateboarding, a game of balance really. A new challenge for me, since I don’t skateboard or surf. But I'd been warned by everyone that that the very first day of snowboarding can be brutal, and they were right. The falls I took when I first learned to ski seem gentle now compared to the spectacular falls I yesterday. With both feet strapped to a board, the only way down is to slam your upper body against the icy slope.
The instructor warned me not to put out my arms to break my fall – a broken wrist is the most common snowboarding injury – and I managed not to do that. But every other body part was slammed against the ice repeatedly, including a dramatic face plant that today is making the entire inside of my head hurt. I would photoblog all the big bruises on my body except that I think it would make my blog look like a porn site.
And despite the pain, I did have a great day. Daughter and I both kept laughing as we fell awkwardly into the snow again and again. We managed to get the one snowboard instructor who is closer to my age than my Daughter's, and he was awfully good-natured, even though I knocked him over six or seven times, including a fairly dramatic fall that seemed to fluster him. He even met us after lunch to give us a second lesson, devoting his whole day pretty much to yanking me out of the woods every time I went off the groomed part of the trail, and patiently teaching me the turns over and over. And I got all kinds of encouragement from my sons, my niece, and my extras. Always there were teenagers yelling things at me as they raced by on snowboards or went by overhead on the chairlift. (Blue-eyed Instructor said to me, curiously, "Just how many kids do you have here? Seems like every teenager here knows you.")
Today I am moving slowly, my body stiff, my muscles sore, still discovering new bruises in places I never thought possible. But I remember those moments when I got the snowboard moving the way I wanted it to – how good that felt – and I am already looking forward to next weekend when I can get out onto the slopes again.