Personal rule of thumb for Jackson: If someone else can do the activity with a baby strapped to them, I should be able to do the activity.
A few days this winter were spent with me trying to covertly tag along with people skiing with babies on their backs. To me, this is the most hilarious, frightening, and mystifying thing I have ever seen. The question, of course, is, "Is this safe?" One dude I followed didn't even own ski pants, opting to ski in jeans, but didn't hesitate to strap his baby onto his back and ski. My opinion is, if you don't care enough about the sport to buy the appropriate clothing, you aren't devoted enough to ski and carry a baby. And the guy didn't put down the safety bar on the lift. That's just dumb. A few days later, I was stalking a different dad. This dude was decked out in all the latest gear, and was telemarking, which is a type of skiing where your heel is able to raise and you do lunges as you ski. I don't really know why anyone does telemarking. As far as I can tell, this is just for people who find normal skiing so easy that they decide to add a lunge. Whatever keeps you motivated, crazies. I followed this badass dad off the lift, thinking, this is the guy. This uber-athlete is going to show me the way of extreme parenting. His form looked good, but he was going pretty slow. Ok, I thought. Good. He is being safe, avoiding the crowd. Nope! The dude was waiting for a thinning out so he could do a jump! He caught about 4 feet of air off a jump with a baby on his back. Since this is all discovered by my paparazzi style following of strangers, I know I lose some credibility on my judgment, but skiing with a child on your back is crazy. That said, I'd still like to do it. I will be wearing ski pants and not doing jumps, but someday, I'll expose a child to my insane yet moderate recklessness. Even if I have to borrow one. Just kidding. If you let me babysit for you, I promise not to strap your child to my back while skiing. That would be dumb... I think. Let's just stop talking about it.
Ok. So, since I don't have a child to occupy my time, and really don't want one, I'm prone to self-indulgent boredom. After a few days this off-season of icing my knees, painting my nails, and investigating Masters programs online, I decided to cut the crap and get my booty moving. I went for a walk. Low-key but nice. Not supplying the thrill I've gotten used to though, I considered kicking in up a notch. I went and once again stared up at Snow King. Not sure if people were still climbing up the thing and skiing down, I was secretly hoping that the hike would be deemed impossible. If no one else was doing it, I wasn't going to do it. Just as I was about to return home and settle into watching The Devil Wears Prada's director's commentary, a Subaru with skis on top pulls in front of me. A couple gets out, and as the woman started to unload the skis, the man pulls out a baby carrying thingy. Oh, damn. Not only are people climbing Snow King and skiing down, they are doing it with a child strapped to their back. No more excuses.
I went home, got my skis, and that's right, I climbed that mountain. My goal was to get halfway up. Even though I was so out of breath at times that I thought I was going to puke, I ended up making it to the top. Resorting to my tough times tactic, I counted steps to keep me moving forward. A lot of the journey I was only able to do thirty to forty consecutive steps without taking a breather. I got up to around 130 steps. I was only passed by one person and she was a God send because I was then able to follow in her footsteps, literally. Much easier than carving out my own path in the snow. Breaking trail is all well and good, but ain't no shame in following.
Two things I'm really proud of: 1) I resisted the urge to shout, this is my first time, to the girl who passed me headed up and the people who whizzed by me on skies. 2) I climbed all the way to the top of a mountain and skied down!!!
After, I felt so proud, I decided I deserved to celebrate myself. I cooked a steak, drank nice wine, and generally felt awesome. Way awesome. Ain't nothing like doing yourself proud. My life has given birth to a badass, me, and it's definitely a bundle of joy.