Playing Mom Hooky
No, this isn’t a twist on a Sarah Palin post. This is not about being a Hockey Mom, or playing Mom Hockey. I’m talking about being truant from a day of chauffeuring, packing lunches, helping with homework, planning and cooking dinner, laundry, and all of the other things that fill our Mom days. A chance to hit the escape key on the laptop of life and play hooky on Mom duty.
The planets aligned, I called up favors, and I was able to play hooky yesterday and let me tell you, it was downright MAGICAL!
After reading my post listing some New Year’s resolutions, my longtime girlfriend and college roommate called me up and said I had to make #11 happen this year. We used to ski together in college and she couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been on skis in 13 years. As I listed the reasons I hadn’t been able to do it (babies, money, my husband doesn’t want to go with me and how do I take three kids by myself), she put her foot down.
“We should just go one of these days when the kids are in school. How cool would that be?”
We started giggling on the phone at the possibility.
“You mean we would go out and have fun for a day, doing something just for us, with no kids and no husbands?!”
We knew that if we didn’t pick a date during that phone call, we’d never make it happen. So we discussed our kids’ schedules and figured out a date that might work, promised to line up babysitters and carpool help, and wrote it on the calendar. IN PEN.
During the days leading up to our ski date, I felt anxious, excited, and totally nervous. I kept picturing the worst. I really was going to break a leg and give my husband “I told you so” rights for the rest of our marriage. Or I’d get to the top of the mountain and forget everything I used to know about how to ski. Or my girlfriend would lap me as I snowplowed down the hill, too afraid to ski like a normal person now that I knew the paralyzing fears of motherhood.
But, I am happy to report, none of that happened.
Instead, everything went according to plan. My girlfriend picked me up and we almost missed our exit, too busy chatting along the way to pay attention to signs and directions. We literally giggled half of the trip there because it felt so funny and strange to be doing this. It was a surreal experience for us.
We were escaping to do something strictly for ourselves for fun. This was not about furthering our professional careers. This was not about researching for a family trip. This was not about completing long-ignored projects or running errands for our kids. No, this was an absolutely frivolous trip, with no other purpose than our own enjoyment. We really felt like we were teenagers, skipping school. Like we were getting away with breaking the rules and laughing about it. And we hadn’t even arrived at the mountain yet!
Once we got there, we tossed our stuff in a locker, got our equipment on and headed to the chair lift. There were no short people to corral, no extra bags to carry and stow. The two of us carried so little with us, we even shared one locker. It’s amazing how little you need to carry with you when you leave the kids behind.
As I snapped my boots into my skis, I prayed everything would work as it should and that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself. I managed to push off and we boarded the lift with no problem. I grinned to my friend, proud that I remembered how to move on skis. Then we disembarked and headed for one of the green trails.
It was the moment of truth. Either I was going to fall and have to re-learn everything again, or I would make it down the trail in one piece. I let my friend lead the way, took a deep breath, and followed.
Even going as slowly as we were on an easy, green trail, I felt that old familiar surge of exhilaration. It was a beautifully clear day with temps in the mid-40’s, but still winter enough that I enjoyed that cold wind in my face, making my eyes tear-up a little behind my sunglasses.
After thirteen years, one husband, four houses, three kids, and a thousand other changes, my body remembered how to ski. Granted, this body is much different than my body was 13 years ago, but the muscle memory was there. By the third run, we moved over to the blue trails and I was no longer hesitant and afraid. I was shooshing again.
My lungs filled with brisk winter air; my nose and eyes felt the sting of chill wind. Every turn heard the rush of skis carving a path in the snow, part spraying powder, part crunching hardened snow, and that all-familiar scrape of cutting edges in to the ice underneath. My legs knew when to shift my weight, my arms knew when to plant my poles, and my eyes were ahead, looking to my next turn.
We talked, we laughed, and we skied all day long. It felt utterly amazing. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was truly a magical, wonderful, fulfilling experience. Our leg muscles were burning by lunchtime, but we didn’t care. It was the combination of a beautiful day of fresh air and exercise plus the forbidden feeling of escaping our everyday responsibilities that had us smiling and laughing and living every moment to its fullest.
We ignored the aches and fatigue from underused muscles and kept going and going until we couldn’t ignore the clock any longer. Feeling like our own kids at the end of a party or a playdate, we begrudgingly packed up our equipment and headed home.
I told my husband that night that it was so perfect, it ranked as one of my best days in the last three years. It was really that incredible.
Even today, as I hobble around my house because my muscles are so sore, I’m still enjoying the leftover high from our amazing day playing hooky. I love my kids, my husband, our house, and our wonderful life together. But no matter how blessed a life we lead, everyone deserves a chance to experience some outside-the-box excitement for a change.
Playing Mom Hooky yesterday gave me such a sense of freedom and exhilaration, that I am ready to face the realities of life again with a smile on my face. My second-grader woke up this morning with a fever, and my oldest son’s Pinewood Derby car’s wheels won’t turn. But I can handle these challenges. Because yesterday, I sailed down a mountain with the wind through my hair.
For one day, I was just me. I wasn’t a mom, I wasn’t a wife. I was just a girl who loves to ski.