Growing up, I spent many weekends on the ski hills with friends, and aside from the always entertaining ride up on the chair lift, my favourite part of the day was going to the chalet to eat and to warm up.
I'm just not cut out for sports, or for the cold. Well, I was a really fast runner in school, and I'm still a great swimmer - so that has to count for something, right?
But skiing... it just wasn't my thing. Truly, the only fun part about skiing for me was the cute outfits and ski goggles and the rides up on the chair lift.
My friends and I would play a game where we'd have to finish singing American Pie on each ride up before we got out. It got to be really stressful, and we'd laugh and sing the entire way up. I was always scared I'd forget to get off and have to go back down again.
Even after a few years of skiing lessons, I was never brave enough to venture off the bunny hills. One day, while skiing with my friends on a new hill, I felt confident. I was doing great!
Halfway down the hill, my friend turned to me and said something she never should have said:
"Loukia! I'm so proud of you! Do you realize you're going down a black diamond hill? I did't want to tell you earlier, because I didn't want to scare you."
Of course, after those words were uttered, I stopped skiing, sat down, and refused to move. I was all of a sudden scared out of my mind. What the heck was I doing skiing down a black diamond hill? I was paralyzed with fear - I simply couldn't ski anymore! I tried going down on my bum, but that didn't work really well, considering I still had my skis on. My friend's boyfriend had to ski beside me, ever so slowly, the rest of the way down, because I was so scared that I wouldn't make it down in one piece.
Living in Canada, weekend ski trips away were common among my friends and I. Once we decided to go tubing in the snow. Let's just say - it's just as scary as it sounds. Instead of going down a hill on skis, you go down in an inner tube. Many people find this winter activity fun, but not I. It was the scariest thing I'd ever done, physically.
It was out of control... the speed in which we were going down that hill, I thought we would surely die. We survived, however. I didn't go down a second time.
A few years ago, I went white water rafting with my sister and her friends. I was naive, as I didn't even think I'd get wet. I had my hair in cute braids, wore my purple bikini and cute shorts on top. I had a little fanny pack around my waist, with snacks and my cigarettes. Our instructor took one look at me, and all but laughed in my face. "I'm not going to get wet, am I?" I asked him. A few minutes later, as our boat hit the water, I realized how dumb I was. We were white water rafting at about a level 3/4 - which was totally insane. I fell out of the boat twice - yes, twice - and I tried so hard to swim back to my boat, but it was impossible, as I was stuck in a current. I was thrown a life preserver, and I managed to make it back on the boat. Completey drenched, of course. So much for my peanut butter sandwich. And my cigarettes.
Later, we took a break, and had a chance to swim in calmer water. It was my first time swimming in a river, and it was pretty cool. Still, it didn't compare to the ocean. I kept thinking of the scene in Stand By Me, where the boys went swimming and then came out covered in leeches. I was conviced that would happen to me, too.
Afterwards, we had a little party with all the other rafters, and 'awards' were given out to people. I received the award for most entertaining rafter. Something to be proud of... or ashamed?
As you can see, I'm not really a big risk taker. My first night in L.A., I was too scared to walk down Sunset Boulevard, thinking I'd get shot. I survived, though, and I survived having a stranger play with my hair on the subway in New York City at 5 a.m, even though it was one of the scariest experiences ever for me.
However, no matter what scary thing I've experienced, or tried, or have lived through - nothing, nothing is as scary as being a mom.
My children went to bed at 5:45 tonight, on our drive home. As any mom knows, a bedtime that early is very scary... very scary indeed. It's going to be 'one of those nights'. One of those nights where as soon I fall asleep at midnight, one - or both - of my children will wake up. And they'll want to go downstairs. Or play. Or something dreadful like that. At a time when all I will want to be doing is sleeping.
Oh, the nights of a mother! Sometimes, there is nothing more scary than the night itself.
Nights when the children wake up, crying from a bad dream, nights when you have to clean up vomit and change the sheets, your child, and yourself, in record time, nights when you can't sleep because you're worrying about your children - now that is scary, on a whole other level.
I've been a mom for over 4 years so far - and I feel fairly confident that I can ski down any black diamond hill now. Because really, the skills it takes to ski is nothing compared to the skills it takes to be a mom!