Go In Strong

The Next Family

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

I don’t ski.  Never have.  Though I grew up in a house in New Mexico less than six miles from a ski area I never skied.  My stepmother was a ski instructor, but did I ever think about letting her teach me? Not a chance.  My brother skied.  That was natural.  He drove fast cars and dated beautiful girls and wrote awesome songs that he later sang with his band.  I sat on my bed and ate ice cream straight from the carton, my nose buried in a book. I didn’t ski.

But my husband wanted to go to Mammoth and the kids wanted to see snow.  And I thought, “Well, I’ll go and I’ll bring all those unread New Yorkers and I’ll sit in the lodge or the cabin or wherever and I’ll drink cocoa and it’ll be fine.”  And then, about a week before we left, I said, “Why the heck aren’t we going to Palm Springs?”

But we went anyway.  And I decided to take a lesson.  Just one.  To see for sure that I don’t ski.

And it was awesome.

“You will fall a lot,” my husband said. “But that’s okay.”

“Go in strong,” my friend said.  “Go in like you mean it.”

And I did.

I went in smiling and ready for anything.  It helped that the sun was shining and my instructor was a kind of cool drill sergeant and I’m a kind of people pleaser.  I went in strong.  I held my own.  I felt fear, but I kicked it in the butt.  When my instructor said we should go down the extremely steep hill, I went down it.  I kept my knees bent, my legs forward and I found my balance.  The sky was blue, blue and the snow was sparkling as far as I could see.

I went back the next day and rode the big lift and kept myself upright all the way down the mountain.  I would do it again in a minute.

Yes, sitting on my bed with my nose in a book is one of my favorite things to do, but I am pleased to report that there is a wide world beyond the page.  Shin deep into my forties, I find that with each passing year, I want to do more — try more.  The energy of my children is infectious.  I want to follow them on all their adventures and set a good example by heading out on a few of my own.

I want to go in strong before it’s time to go out.

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