Art Therapy

As I mentioned in my last post, my family’s schedule has changed dramatically over the last two weeks.  At some point last spring–obviously when the weather was warm, the birds were singing, and anything seemed possible–I decided that I wouldn’t wait until next year to do my student-teaching.  For some reason, a full-time internship (and a couple of nights at my old job in addition) with a child still at home and a husband out of the house for eleven hours a day seemed doable to me then.  How doable does it seem now?  Go ahead…ask.  I dare you.

In all honesty, it is completely within my ability.  Over the break I met a women with four children in the midst of a nasty divorce, going to school full-time.  I also know plenty of moms, many of them single-parents, who wake up each morning at the crack of dawn and rush their kids out the door so they can make a living.  We all give up something, and what my family sacrifices isn’t that much–a half-hour of sleep in the morning (in my case, an hour and a half of sleep), Ophelia spending most of her week in school and with a babysitter instead of home with mom.  All said and done, things could be much worse, and by now, we could be trucking along steadily if the flu weren’t looming among us.  As it is–Emerson sick with various permutations of something since Christmas, Ophelia coming down with flu her third day of school, and Matty and I succumbing soon afterwards–those hours of sleep and quiet moments at home are seeming pretty precious to us all.

So when given one of these quiet days last Sunday, what better way to spend it than…skiing! Quite naturally.

Of course Ophelia has just come down with the flu (although we didn’t know it was the flu at that point, thank you very much) on Thursday, and Emerson was still hacking her lungs out, but there is no cure like fresh mountain air, right?  (In case you were wondering, I do have a certain history with this type of reasoning.)

Here are some of the highlights of our day, in the order they happened:

After a nice drive up, with everyone excited to be there, a man in the parking lot offers us two adult lift tickets for only twenty bucks each.  Of course we decline, because we only plan on going on the magic carpet with the kids, and tickets for that only cost around ten dollars.

While I help the kids get into their gear, Matty goes to buy our lift tickets.  As I’m helping Emerson get hers on her jacket, I notice it reads $38.00, at which point I turn to Matty and ask, why does her ticket say thirty-eight dollars?, to which he replies, because that was how much it cost.  Ah-ha.  Apparently, I was confusing this ski resort with one in Vermont, where you can, in fact, purchase a ticket for only the small lift at a reduced cost.  But here, you need to pay for the whole shebang.  (Our tickets were $60 a pop.)

We get to the magic carpet area, Matt goes down once with Emerson and states that he can’t possibly ski with the boots he’s wearing–they’re too small, and he’s going in to get a refund on his ticket at once.  He leaves me alone on the hill with Ophelia, who has never skied, and Emerson, who is happily going up and down the bunny-slope with ease.

By the time Matty gets back, Ophelia is intermittently screaming about how she wants to go home, or how she wants to ski, depending on the moment.  I take her up and down a few more times, but nothing improves, so I try and bribe her with a hot chocolate if she goes inside with Matty, so that I can take Emerson up on the quad.  This fails, and I leave her, walking around in her ski boots (no skis) on the middle of the trail, screaming–full-volume–about how she wants to ski.

I take Emerson up on the quad, not realizing there are two smaller lifts open on the far end of the mountain that would be better suited for her ability.  We have a nice ride up, and upon our exit find an easy trail right in front of us.  We have a great time going down, at the beginning, but Emerson soon grows hungry (it’s lunchtime, and we haven’t eaten) and frustrated, even though she can ski the trail with ease.

The trail, although easy, is long, especially when you are with a seven-year-old who is feeling hungry and complaining that her head hurts, and then falls in a funny way and twists her ankle.  Very long, let me tell you.

After quite a long time, we see the lodge, but it is not the lodge we started at.  In order to get to that lodge, we need to take another, smaller, lift up and ski down to it…or we need to take our skis off and walk through slush.  We chose the latter, which adds even more time onto our one run.

We arrive at the lodge to Matty suffering a severe headache (the flu–it comes on suddenly) and wanting to leave.  After a quick lunch and hot chocolate, we take off our stuff and get ready to hit the road, at which point Ophelia starts screaming again about how she wants to ski.

We finally get everyone out of the lodge, but can’t find Ophelia’s skis when we get outside.  We look everywhere. (I even take a trip back to the magic-carpet and examine each child getting off the ramp to see if they accidentally grabbed her skis instead of theirs.)  After about a half-hour of this, Emerson comes back up from dropping stuff off at the car and informs me that–whoops–they were in the car the whole time.  Matty put them there earlier and forgot.

So there you have it.  Our first ski trip of the year, in a nutshell.

Luckily for us, we have a penchant for revisionist history.  We had barely left the mountain when the girls starting chatting in the backseat about how much fun they had, how well Ophelia did, and how they couldn’t wait to go back again.  And when we got home, this happened:

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Emerson has never been a verbal processor.  Her crayons (or pencils, or paints, or whatever is available), however, are in a state of constant motion.  God love her.

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