I couldn’t help myself. No one was in the frozen foods aisle (it was 7PM on a Friday night) and Timberlake’s voice was singing about that sunshine in his pocket and that good soul in his feet. When he got to the “ooh” part I did a booty roll.
Just a little one.
Then, since I was still alone, I dropped my head to the side, and whipped it around, spinning to face the other end of the aisle. As I looked up, I saw Pax slide into view, striking a pose. He sees me from the other end of the aisle, and — without missing a beat — starts walk-dancing towards me, doing that step-drop-step-drop thing he does so effortlessly.
It’s funny…he looks so much like Mike, but in this way, he is allllllll mine.
I attempt to copy him, and we meet in the middle of the (still empty) aisle, right when the chorus comes on, “dance, dance, dance, dance.” Pax goes nuts while I dissolve into giggles; these moves of his I cannot copy. Suddenly, Pax hugs me around my waist and looks up, squeezing.
“Best day ever, Mom,” he says.
Was it, though?
Pax and Raines both had some sort of freestyle ski (Raines) and snowboard (Pax) competition earlier that day. Raines is a pretty reluctant competitor (he cares nothing about winning, we keep reminding him that competitions are good for him to experience), but Pax wants to win. This competition was called….”Slopestyle”? And basically meant that the boys had to make their way down a double-black-diamond run covered in moguls, but do it in a cool way, with style. A panel of judges score the kids on things like technique, difficulty of tricks, artistry, creativity, costuming and —
I’m kidding. I actually have no idea.
But the whole thing reminds me of ice skating.
Anyway, a key point here is that this particular double-black run, should one want to spectate, can only be accessed by…the double-black run itself. OR by skiing through the woods NEXT TO the double-black run. Mike thought either of these could be reasonable options, until I disabused him of that ridiculous notion. Which is how we found ourselves doing some sort of Tour de Stowe that involved skiing the wrong way on a crossover (you know it’s wrong when you end up skiing uphill), as well as hiking up a cliff in waist-deep powder wearing ski boots.
After arriving at the spot where other parents seemed to be spectating, we settled in to watch. At this point, I’m literally dripping in sweat, and Mike, also huffing and puffing, is so annoyed, he can barely look at me. I was light enough to not sink to ground level with every step…but Mike was not so lucky. As we waited for our first kid to take the stage (cliff?), I remembered how truly terrible ski racing is for parents. And this “slopestyle event” (or whatever it’s called) is like a realllllly slooow version of ski racing. The upside is that you get to watch your kid for a few extra seconds (roughly 30 seconds instead alpine’s 6 seconds) but then in slopestyle, the judges deliberate for what seems like forever between competitors, which really maximizes that whole stand-around-freezing-for-hours thing.
Also, it was 10 degrees, and I was pretty sure I was going to die up there on that hill.
Finally, it was Pax’s turn. A tiny bright orange dot at the top of a very steep, bumpy cliff. He started down on his snowboard, and almost immediately, fell. It was one of those falls where he’s tumbling: head-board-head-board, and I remember gasping or maybe even screaming a little. I honestly cannot remember a time he’s fallen that hard. Somehow, Pax managed to break his fall, and popped back up on his snowboard, continuing down the mountain.
“Oh,” I thought, my heart breaking for my guy. “He’s going to be devastated.” I continued to watch in horror as he started snowboarding again — just as hard as before — and again, fell.
I watched Pax fight his way down that mountain, tears in my eyes. I don’t care (like, at all) about how he finishes, but I knew two things for sure: one, this was not his best showing — he’s done this run many times before — and two….he cares about his standings very, very much.
As Pax got closer, I could see something bobbing around his head. Oh GOD …it was his goggles. His goggles had fallen off in his first big tumble, which meant that now he could barely see. I caught a glimpse of his face as he zoomed by, windy tears streaming down his cheeks: bleak. His face was focused and determined — competitor mode — but there was a bleakness in his expression that KILLED ME.
Pax finished his race and, once off the course, immediately collapsed. I ran (as best I can in my ski boots) over to the cliff and threw myself off.
Not really, but I did slide down that thing on my butt, then had to galumph back through the woods. This whole process took several annoying minutes. By the time I reached Pax, I was once again a sweaty mess. Was my baby ok?? Was he hurt?????
My baby, as it turns out, was pissed. Which is fine (I’ll take pissed over hurt any day,) but this did become one of the most challenging episodes in my career as Pax’s Mom. There were tears, snow-punching, threats of quitting FOREVER, and accusations of ‘NOT CARING’ when I dared suggest he take his angry little self away from the judges’ line of sight.
I’ve gotta give this kid credit, though. As he watched his teammates finish successfully and glide off the course, he’d hold out his hand for a fist bump, offering up a, “Great run!” or “Looked good!!”.
Eventually, his team finished the competition, and his coach came to grab him. “How ya doing, Boss?” his coach asked. Pax looked away, sullen. “Well…” his coach shrugged, “it happens. Now we still have the rest of practice to do. Let’s go.”
There was something about his coach’s very matter-of-fact, life-goes-on demeanor that just…diffused Pax. It was like sending in the bomb squad. And while Pax did try and stall, and beg me to ski down WITH him to have lunch together before he continued his practice (“MOM I WANT TO HAVE LUNCH WITH JUST YOUUUUU”)…I knew there was no freaking way I’d make it back to that spectator place, probably ever again in my lifetime. And we still were waiting for Raines to take his run.
In the end, Pax snowboarded off, by himself, to catch up with his team. And ended up having — apparently — the “best day ever”.
I re-climbed that damn cliff and stood for another two-ish hours until Raines’s turn was up, and we watched him crash and burn as well. As Raines’ skis simply fell away from his boots as he went over a jump, Mike and I both had the terrible realization that we hadn’t tightened his dins in, oh, two years? If you don’t know what ‘dins’ are, suffice it to say we are terrible parents. If you do know what dins are…please don’t tell Jim S. He will be SO disappointed in us. 🙂
Mike, BTW, feels no remorse: “Time for Raines to take responsibility for his own shit. He won’t forget about his dins again.”
Uh…OK. That’s one approach, I guess.
Frankly, Mike’s probably right. Raines was also pissed at his performance, but quickly moved on by showing us his 360s in the terrain park. GMA held an awards ceremony which both boys were excited to attend (they throw free stuff into the crowd), and our car ride home was…happy.
We stopped at the grocery store for junk food, then, once home, cranked up some music, played a little pool, and watched the Olympics, which makes it pretty darn clear that the crashing and burning is 100% part of this sport.
Was it my “best day ever”? Nah. The look on Pax’s face, as he fought his way down that mountain, will likely haunt me forever. My heart squeezes painfully now, just thinking about it. But watching him dance and goof around in that grocery store, the very picture of resiliency, makes my heart swell larger than any medal ever could.
Ultimately, I just want my kids to lead long, happy lives. I want them to understand, in a real, tangible way, that the getting back up part is more than half the battle, it’s the whole freaking point.
With, ya know, the proper din settings.
‘Cause that shit’s dangerous.
Restock alert: My much-worn and very beloved SAM jacket (the fuzzy, sherpa one) has been restocked! Not to sound like a broken record (I know I’ve covered it ad nauseam) but it’s so fun and chic and surprisingly technical…totally worth every penny. I’ve been wearing mine for both day AND our occasional date night. And because it’s both sporty and fancy, it works in almost every situation.
Another one! Sorel FINALLY re-issued my beloved winter hiking boots in a really gorgeous soft gray. And for some reason…Zappos is the only one carrying them (oh wait — Amazon, too). I named these boots as one of the best boots to wear with straight-leg jeans all winter. They’re bananas comfortable for walking, they’re warm, and they’re seriously cute. They were also one of Oprah’s favorite things a year or two ago, which is why they’re almost NEVER in stock. Don’t sleep on these…they’re perfect for spring, too.
Remember the taco dress? Truthfully, I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this already, but I think I found a winter version. But if your head is already zooming to June…I just ordered this cut-out mini dress for summer (under $100!). It has that looser, easy shape of the taco dress, but in a shorter hemline. Fingers crossed.
Speaking of summer….we launched our 2022 Swim Guide!!!! And if you are also wondering about the suit Scotti is wearing in the featured photo (we were flooded with DMs and emails after it went live)…her suit has been recently re-stocked: Seafolly’s Active Deep V Maillot.
Best suits for large busts? This was another question that popped up after the launch of the swim guide! And yes: we’re working on adding another category to both the swim guide and the bikini guide (coming soon!). That said…wanna help? If you have any one-piece suits OR bikini tops you swear by for a larger bust, drop us a comment and we’ll be sure to include. (Aliya covered a few of our favorite supportive bikini tops last year.)
Yet again, more summer. Specifically…these bermuda shorts??? I think I’m in. I’m envisioning them a bit baggy, so I may go up a size or two.
Transitional. Amy was talking about puffer jackets with shorts the other day…and she might be onto something. I can’t stop thinking about how perfect this pretty, lightweight puffer would be in the spring…or maybe even at the beach, on a cool summer night. Hmm.
Best foundation for older skin? I keep looking. I’ve had a few fails, though, so recently just went back to an old standby: Dior’s Dreamskin, Fresh & Perfect Cushion. Dang, I had forgotten how freaking good this product really is, if you can find a shade to match (there aren’t many). I wear the 02 and it’s…wow. It literally feels like nothing, and looks like I’m not wearing any foundation at all. Yet…my skin is even and a little glow-y.
The secret to the best homemade popcorn? This popcorn salt. It’s not flavored or anything, just ground realllllly fine, so the salt sticks to the popcorn better. It’s transformational. (Thanks, Mom) (Here’s a fancier version, if interested.)
Valentine’s Day? Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday, I’d love to surprise the boys with some baked, overnight French Toast. I haven’t *quite* found the recipe I want yet, but I might try inventing a vegan version of this Baked Cherry Cheesecake French Toast. Or maybe I’ll just make my own cherry pie filling with frozen cherries….and serve it on top of a piece of toast with vegan cream cheese. Close enough.