I am posting this from a cozy armchair in front of a crackling fire. The kids are passed out at last in the room downstairs in the lodge, as is my husband on the couch opposite this chair. He is ostensibly "reading" while keeping me company, although his magazine hangs precariously over his stomach as it gently rises and falls. It is peaceful and quiet, and there is an incredible blanket of stars in the sky outside the window.
Every single muscle in my legs is burning in agony, and I don't think I will be able to rise from this sitting position without a crane.
The Chianti at dinner was delicious, as were the polenta fries and the unusual pizzas. The portions were generous and the service was excellent. Everyone was remarkably well behaved.
It took nearly two hours to decide on a dinner location, endure the howls of dissent from the peanut gallery*, make a reservation, get directions, extract the teenagers from their video games, pull the girls out of the snowbank, determine which adults were driving, discover that a child who had earlier sledded head first into the hot tub fully clothed was now short a dry pair of shoes, call the restaurant and beg them to remain open as we were in fact fully intending to show up this evening, locate a spare pair of shoes in approximately the correct size, squash a nascent argument about "who gets to sit in back", have the grown-up next to me note helpfully that the dark patches on the road were "most likely black ice" as I was rounding blind curves on the way into town, drive by the preferred restaurant of the peanut gallery**, then go right on past our intended restaurant, make a u turn in a shrouded driveway much to the confusion of the person following me and the concern of the black ice lady, hear a small voice in the back chime in that they had seen the place but assumed there might be two locations the local lakeside hamlet so there was no need to say anything, pull into a parking space, unload the car, and descend on the eternally patient staff who awaited us to finally have that much needed bottle of wine.
The kids have become great, adventurous skiers, and they love the snow. Whipping through lift lines like practiced professionals, they can almost go anywhere on the mountain and have a wonderful time. They have boundless energy and courage, often seeking out the most challenging, bumpiest way down the hill. It is genuinely fun to hang out with them and do this as a family.
Prior to this idyllic time on the slopes, we have apparently raised two helpless lumps of clay. Waiting in line at the rental shop is a nearly insurmountable obstacle which requires dramatic sighs and slumping over the desk. They quail at the prospect of trying on their ski boots, but are participatory enough to put all their weight onto a parent's back while they grunt and shove their way into the stupid things***. Their clothing is intolerably hot and must be discarded in heaps all over the floor. No one can decide what should or should not go in the locker, but everyone is sure that Mom should take care of it while Dad finishes yelling. It is a total nightmare to do this as a family****.
In the morning, the kitchen fairies will show up to cook everyone a tasty hot breakfast. There will be a platter of sweet, refreshing strawberries and pineapple. A smiling guy will load our stuff into a van and drop us at the foot of a magnificent mountain. We will walk right by that rental shop from hell and wave our passes cheerfully as we ski onto the lift for the first run of the day. The kids and their friends will be laughing. My husband will grin at me with anticipation. When we get to the top, the view will be so spectacular that it will literally take our breath away. The sun will be shining, and there will be piles of fresh snow***** just waiting for us to take the plunge.
I still have to find a way to get up out of this chair.
* Sample quote: "Italian food? Come on! We had pizza last night. You're so mean!" At this point, my husband loses his cool and hisses something at me about "killing the spoiled brats with my bare hands." I decide this is a good time to take a shower.
** We committed to go there tomorrow night, thereby earning many brownie points and their cooperation for the remainder of the evening. On the plus side, we now know exactly where that place is, and the restaurant appears to be open late.
*** As another mom told me this afternoon, the one argument she could find for taking up snowboarding is that their boots are SO much more comfortable.
**** And we are not alone. There is a full quorum of parents all over the resort screaming in frustration at their obstinate offspring, thereby adding to the already incendiary atmosphere of the lodge. Don't even get me started on the lunch lines.
***** The day we arrived was the tail end of a week long dump that brought several feet of new snow to the hills, just in time!