Compulsory fun and the art of fearlessness


This winter, I decided to end a tortured relationship with my snowboard. After my first season snowboarding, we moved quickly from a love/hate relationship to a hate/hate relationship. One filled with frustration, borderline rage, and more than a few cuss words. It is a fact:  I am not cut out for winter sport, or so I thought, until my husband got wind of my decision and decided I should switch to skiing. He wants to be one of “those families”, the kind who post cheerful photos of helmet-clad, pink cheeked faces on facebook. I ungraciously agreed, and we entered into a level of pre-skiing grumpiness I never believed possible.

Naturally, I refer to my grumpiness as well as my penchant for disliking any idea that I didn’t come up with first.


My hang-up appears to stem from forced participation in group lessons with people who, quite obviously, are there to make me look bad. It might also be related to the falling. Good Lord, the falling. And then there’s the t-bar, which I lovingly refer to as the spawn of Satan. I also don’t have a lot of interest in spending my Sabbath taking part in compulsory outdoor fun. It just feels wrong, and I feel pretty confident Jesus agrees.

Yesterday, we had our third lesson and afterwards my husband insisted we give a “small” slope a try as a family. I put small in quotes, because the Swiss don’t do anything small when it comes to mountains. It’s go big or go home, which coincidentally is my man’s life motto. How I wish it was, Go read a book and don’t leave home, but alas it is not. The five of us stood at the top of the hill arguing about who would go first, and who would watch, and why is our thirteen year old whipping out her iPhone when near death is at hand? So, we stood having this discussion when the seven-year old made an executive decision and yells “I’m going!” and I caught the words “Watch me, Mom!” as they drifted by on the wind.


Two runs later, I am done. We send the two youngest up the lift alone one more time, and I stand at the bottom of the slope wearing white ski boots and a worried expression. I keep asking my husband if they’ll be alright, and he assures me they will and he promptly leaves to retrieve our car. I stand at the bottom, and out of the vast whiteness I hear shrieking. Full on screaming, and I can’t make out if it’s the kind of screaming that sends chills up your spine or the kind that comes with water slides and roller coasters. My girl appears at the crest of the hill, mouth wide open mid-shout, and she is flying. Flying, with no regard for bystanders or mama’s weak heart or fear. My hand flies to my mouth as she sweeps by me, heading straight for the line of cars parked at the edge of the snow, and I give a little yell as I imagine her careening off into them. She shocks me when she pulls up short, and snow flings upwards at the touch of her skis. She gives another shout and raises her arms above her head in victory. And when the blood rushes back to my extremities, I realize–I have so much to learn about trust and fearlessness and wild abandon.

Where are you practicing fearlessness and wild abandon? Maybe you’re not, but you want to. Where might you start?


Disclaimer: That last photo? We didn’t ski that slope. Only in an alternate universe or my husband’s dreams would a slope such as this happen to me.