My son, The Ruminator, spent his first Christmas in Seattle with us this year. I had the fine fortune of being off work, so we got to hang out, read, watch movies, shoot zombies, build some stuff, eat cereal while watching cartoons, play the ukelele, snowboard, and just hang out.
This past summer, we went on a cabin-in-the-woods road trip and there was some mad campfire Ukulele and guitar playing and harmonizing. The Ruminator was enthralled and I taught him a couple of songs so he could join in. He asked Santa for his own and we made that happen – you know, Hendrix’s first instrument was a Uke that is dad found in an apartment he was cleaning out… We spent almost every afternoon working on strumming and learning a few more simple songs. My hope is that he becomes the next Clapton and grows rich enough to spoil his dad in fine style in my old age. No really, I would be happy as I could be if he and I could just strum a little together, sing a song or two and pass the Uke back and forth on camping and hiking trips.
The other thing that he REALLY, REALLY wanted for Christmas was to go snowboarding. I find that my son often likes the idea of stuff more than actually doing it, but as he was adamant, so I booked us a shuttle ride to Crystal Mountain and him a days worth of lessons in snow school. NEVER teach someone you love or care about how to ski or snowboard. I have seen more relationships disintegrate on the bunny hill than I can count. I have seen kids take their helmets and even skis off and throw them at their parent. When an 8-year old in a florescent snow suit is cussing and swearing vile oaths, you know they mean it! Trust me, snow school is worth EVERY penny, as it will save you a lot of heartache and make sure your ride home from the mountain will not be an “I-hate-you-fest.”
Conditions that day couldn’t have been better: a 5′ base layer with 12″ of new powder on the ground and blue skies. I hadn’t been on my board in a couple years (OK, 5 years…) due to surgery, multiple international moves, and most of all – laziness… I was chomping at the bit to dive into the powder. After dropping the fruit of my loins off with the other Gortex-clad young-in’s, I spent the morning doing exactly that, though not quite like I planned. After taking the lift up to mid-mountain, I hopped on a blue run as a warm up and spent the next 10 minutes of my life imitating a snowplow with my forehead and performing some serious feats of accidental aerial acrobatics. Holy crap, I suck!! The next run was better, and the next after that and so on, but by lunch, when I went to retrieve my progeny, I was still not a pimple on the backside of Shawn White.
The Ruminator and I rode together after lunch and it was probably the highlight of my week, maybe my year: to be there with my son on his first snow day… I teared up on our last run together as he stood up and linked his very first turn. He loved our trip and snowboarding and being with him made my heart happy.