Monday, January 4, 2010

Suburbs of Our Discontent

I could post something today about the big snow storm we got yesterday and how, if I have to start yet another week with "friends" honking at me as they drive past me and my fat ass shoveling snow, I'm going to lose my mind; or I could post about how I don't understand who it is that Rachel Ray thinks has time to make jewelry out of left-over Christmas wrapping paper. But I think I'll post instead about my tortured relationship with skiing.

This weekend we headed up to Vermont to visit friends. You may recall from my previous post that I hate winter and all of its sports, but if you live in new England and have kids, then it's practically child abuse if you don't teach them how to ice skate or ski. The last thing I need is yet one more reason for my daughter to hate me for ruining her life. So we sucked it up and signed both the kids up for lessons. And, being the game mom that I am, I even bought a J-Bar pass for myself. If you saw me in full ski gear you would appreciate what a sacrifice this was. It's not a good look for me.

I had two opposing wishes for the event: #1) I wanted them to hate skiing, because-- my God--is there possibly a more expensive sport? (Actually, there is: horseback riding. And when I made the mistake of signing my daughter up for a lesson, it took me six months to convince her that the farm had "gone away." Forever. And that there weren't any other places to ride horses in Massachusetts.) #2) I wanted them to take to it like fish to water. Then they could be the popular coordinated kids who go on cool ski vacations and end up marrying rich coordinated people (who, incidentally, never have to shovel their own walks) and having coordinated children who get ponies for their fifth birthdays. Which they're then allowed to raise and ride to their hearts content. I should add that my husband is an excellent skiier who went to high school in the Colorado Rockies, so it really could have gone either way.

Back in Shakespeare's time, they believed that whoever nursed a child (and it was popular to hire someone to do it for you) would pass their personality and behaviors on to the infant. This could be great if you were someone like Hermione who passed goodness on to her daughter Perdita through her "innocent milk" (Winter's Tale 3.2.100); not so great, though, if you're Tamora and you infect your sons with your heartless "marble" milk (Titus Andronicus 2.3. 144). Let's just say I didn't hire anyone else to do the job.

After a few hours of tears and complaints, it became clear that my children would be taking after me, and that, together, we would be the Von Spaz Family Skiiers. Sorry kids. Maybe you'll find love in the Scrabble Club.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're falling into a false binary opposition. What about the possibility of raising your kids to be apres-ski bums? If their rich friends want to spend the day hurling their bodies doesn frigid icy mountains, so be it. Why shouldn't you raise them to read good books, tend the fire, stir the chili pot and prepare the hot chocolate for the return of so many Danes? It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it!