Christmas Eve, Mom sent us to Northstar, which was pretty swank. Remember the days it was full-on snob appeal to have multiple lift tickets hanging off your jacket? You know, to show how often you went skiing and where? Or maybe this was specific to my ‘90’s Midwest teen skiing experience.
My husband and I were reminiscing on exactly that when the lift passes arrived, bearing no hole punches. We puzzled over this. How to attach them to a zipper? Was the new style to keep them in a pocket, tediously de-gloving to pull them out and show them every time? Ughhhh!
Turns out, you do put the pass in a pocket. Staff scan you with a pricing gun, and read your data through your clothes.
Every journey to the lift, “(BEEP) Got you, Ms. Nahm!” or a cheeky, “(BEEP) Hi, Anne!” all the while scanning me like I’m an item at Target. Cool!
Also? Glad I’m done having kids, because I placed my card in a pocket over my ovary. Any eggs coming down that Fallopian tube probably glow in the dark.
Anyway, it’d been twenty years since I last skied, and on the second day (and the first, tbh) I fell a shit ton. It was nice to be risky with my body, to feel athletic and remind myself what I can do. But by the early afternoon, I pulled a Marge:
and wandered around the village at the base of the resort. It was fun to spend the time by myself.
Also weird to observe people notably wealthier than my norm. I felt a bit outsider-ish with my lack of cosmetic surgery, high end clothes, or nonchalance about buying $10 French Fries or a $20 hotty toddy.
After we got home, and had dinner, I told Mom I’d been thinking about what she said re: avocado sandwich. She and I talked about the similarities between her situation with Dad, and mine when my kids were babies – how a caretaker can be bored and exhausted at the same time, and the only people who can relate (other mothers/dementia caretakers) are often so much in the same boat that although they are good for some sorts of company, a person can also long for a friend who takes you completely away from talk of diapers and sleepless nights.
Mom’s shoulders slumped and she said, “You always take a day to get acclimated. I should remember that.”
I was surprised at the idea she’d been nervous around me, waiting for me to talk to her. I don’t know why this was surprising at all in retrospect. It made me a little angry tbh, that I’m the person to be scared of in our relationship. Or maybe just angry that I still want to be a kid again, where it’s her job to be confident and warm all the time.
After dinner, I spent one-on-one with Little. She talked about her child who died, and about God, saying, “I feel like I could handle it if God did just about anything to me, but I can’t forgive Him for what He did to her. But a friend recently said to me, ‘Hey, (Baby) isn’t hurting. It’s you that’s still in pain. So maybe it IS between you and God, because you’re the one who still suffers.’”
I told her I think I’m an atheist now. I didn’t tell her that for me, there’s some intersectionality between God and my growing sense of feminism/ anger about current events. I’ve spent enough of my life giving people authority they didn’t earn or deserve, but based purely on their standing in society. I haven’t spent nearly enough of my life questioning why all the rules indicate I should more or less give that person/deity a pass. Especially with God, I’m increasingly eye-rolly with the idea that if I doubt, the majority of platitudes indicate I’m the one in the relationship who is failing.
Little didn’t feel that way. Telling her felt … good? More and more, I feel like I’ve lost all my fucks with trying to fit in. I’m just gonna keep being myself. This is the unexpected bonus of being on the outside—what else are they gonna do? Moar Outsidez?
On the upside!
Middle has really made a commitment to get fit and she looks GREAT. She had all new clothes, laughed her ass off the whole vacation, and generally stayed above the fray. It’s weird with sisters, because it’s so exciting when they are doing well, and also gets the competition going. Nobody wants to be the least-do-well sister, even while we want good outcomes for each other.
Being around Middle’s and Little’s babies and toddlers, I was SO HAPPY to have older kids. No naptimes! No inevitable meltdowns! It was definitely nice to be close to younger children, so as to remember that time of life (Endless giggles! Playing chase!), without having to ever re-live it.
I forget which night we did the grown-up’s White Elephant. Our rules are you can steal items, so I took this from my BIL. It’s my mom’s contribution: