When I heard the announcement blaring from the base lodge, I knew it was blaring for me.
I can’t explain it more simply than that: I knew the woman would call my name and I knew within seconds I’d be jumping out of my skis and running toward the medical building.
And that’s exactly what happened, except the child I figured I was racing to was not the child I found.
My dare devil daughter has taken more tumbles than most. She taught herself to ride a bike at age three, and promptly tossed herself over the handlebars. She swung from a rope dangling off a tree branch and face-planted onto the rocks below. She is quite possibly the only person I know who totaled a Cozy Coupe. Sleeping bag rides down the stairs? She’s done it. Flying leaps off bridges into ice cold water? She’s done that too.
Her knees tell the tales. Scarred and perpetually bandaged, she has the limbs of a tomboy.
Her older sister is more cautious. She’s an observer, a scientist at heart, who is always sizing up the unknown. New places, new foods, new sports, new experiences: she is never the first to dive in. When she was a tantruming 2-year -old, she would find a comfortable spot before ever so gently laying herself to the floor for some decent kicking and screaming.
So when she pitched the idea of snowboarding lessons, I was not only surprised but also secretly delighted.
Turns out the kid’s a natural.
Despite the fact that her hot pink ski pants were threatening to fall off her skin and bones, she took to the board with fearless abandon and before the end of the day, we were riding the chair to the top. It wasn’t easy; it took a long time to get down. But she never gave up, even after what seemed like a few hundred falls.
When I found her, she was slightly puffy eyed and wearing a sling, tended to by the quintessential country doctor. He was telling her about the mole that lived in the ski shack and I could tell she was more than mildly freaked out by that.
I left with instructions to get her x-rayed and a baggie filled with a snow, a makeshift ice pack. I lugged the board back to the lodge. She trailed behind me, silently.
“Do you think it’s broken, mom?” she asked. “Do you think I’ll be able to go out again tomorrow?”
No, I said, you probably won’t be back out tomorrow.
“OK,” she said. “Is a mole like a mouse?”
Yes, I said, handing her brownie.
“That is freaky!” she cried. “Gross!”
Tomorrow she gets her cast. It will be a badge of honor for her, and a reminder to me: you learn something new everyday.