My daughter Lainey is five years old and I love her. Recently, she tried skiing for the first time.
Lainey was so excited for our ski trip, that all week she asked, “Is it time for ski?” The night before she insisted on wearing her tights and layers of polyester to bed. As soon as we hit 95 North, Lainey swore she could see mountains.
We arrived at Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley, ME, and Lainey joyfully jumped into the parking lot shuttle. She smiled broadly and never complained, even though the wind chill neared 20 below. At the Base Lodge, I dropped her off at Mountain Magic Ski School and wished her luck.
As I rode a lift to the mountaintop, I wondered if Lainey would ski or prefer to stay warm inside, drink hot cocoa and play on the foosball table the school provided. I ripped down the mountain, toward the bunny hill to spy on her. Covered head to toe in hat, hood, goggles and scarf, Lainey would never recognize me.
Lainey was nowhere to be found on my first run past, or my second, but as I rode a lift over the bunny hill, there she was.
Her knees were slightly bent, arms by her sides, back straight, skis parallel—it was great form, I was impressed! Her teacher skied nearby and then . But for her first day, what a champ!
“Go Lainey Go!” I yelled from the lift.
I caught up to Lainey at the top of the hill, stood inches away and laughed. Lainey was oblivious to my presence.
“Hey! It’s me!” I yelled.
“Dad?” she said, “Dad! I can ski! Want to ski with me?”
“For sure!” I smiled.
After class, we held hands and shot down the hill like a motorcycle and sidecar.
“You go way faster than my teacher!” she giggled, surely smiling behind her neoprene .
Neither of us wanted to leave when the slopes closed that day. I felt proud and delighted that I had found a new skiing partner.
“Dad, can we come back tomorrow?” Lainey pleaded.
“I wish, honey,” I smiled.
Skiing reminds me so much of the happiest times spent with my father. A family passed down.