Tuesdays - in the winter, in our family, for many years - is ski day. Papa and the older kids head up to the mountain where they join their friends, practice their turns and pizza wedges, barrel down the slope on boards and skis both, and sometimes send me pictures like the one above - which simultaneously scare the daylights out of me and make me laugh. Though they may go a few times before, five is the magic family age at which one joins the crowd full time, and oh, that first year is always an exciting one. They all come home exhausted and elated but none more than the latest recruit who is having the time of his life out there, and feeling so big and grown up as this winter ritual becomes his own too.
There's another side to ski day looks that quite different from the scene above, and that's my own winter Tuesday ritual. I visit a few times each season to watch from the base of the mountain, but for the most part, it's a very different day for me - at home, quietly, with just the little one(s). There was a time when it was just Adelaide while her big brothers went alone, and a time when it was just Harper, a few years of overlap, and now it is just Annabel and l. In a family of five little ones, it's a special treat to have time alone together like we do on this day. And most especially with this youngest one of ours, I'm even more mindful of just how special it is. How fleeting it is. How quickly the years will fly by and how soon it will be that she herself wakes up early with the crowd on a winter Tuesday, packs her lunch and heads out the door. The older kids talk about that day all the time now - that's part of the ritual, I think - coming home with tales from the mountain and getting the next little one excited to join them. But they also include me in that line of questioning around the dinner table, late every Tuesday night - When the youngest goes, Will Mama start downhill skiing? (No, thank you! I prefer level ground.) and the greatest mystery of all to them - What on earth would Mama do all day alone if we're gone? (Somehow, I shall manage a day of silence, as hard as it is to believe.)
But we're not there yet and I'm not in a hurry to get there. I've got nearly three winters (really, just three?) with my baby girl at home with me this day, and we are enjoying ourselves very much. She's got the added bonus, this one, of Gram in the house too. Gram and Mama doting upon her all day long? Stories and songs, books and dancing, snuggles and play....and a constant stream of nearly three year old dialogue running all day long with undivided attention and no interruptions. It's always been tempting, on these quieter days, to crank out housework, or squeeze in a bit of work, but I've realized that then I miss out on the goodness of this kind of a day - the connection and joy to be found in solo time like this. Our day, instead, moves slowly and quite pleasantly...at her very own two and a half year old pace all day. It is no wonder she so merrily ushers them all out the door in the morning, turning around to face us, hands on hips, and says with a smile on her face "what we gonna do?"
I love my Tuesdays with Annabel.