Snowboarding and Motherhood Part 1

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Snowboarding and Motherhood

Yesterday was Big E’s birthday party. I had planned to have a small group of his friends come play in our six feet of snow, but a blizzard made driving to our house dangerous. Over a foot of snow fell yesterday, which is great for a snowboarder like me, but makes regular Mom life a bit tricky.

Snowboarding and motherhood have both been on my mind. That may seem like an odd pairing, but for me they are two great joys in my life. Snowboarding and motherhood are inseparably connected, and to explain why I need to tell you a story.

This post is the first half. Be sure to come back later this week to read Snowboarding and Motherhood Part 2.

I Wasn’t Always a Snowboarder

I wasn’t always a snowboarder. As a kid growing up in Nebraska and Wisconsin my only experience with skiing was taking a few turns on a reformed garbage dump. Seriously.
Then I moved out to Utah for college, met Mountain Dad and got married. His job paid well, so we made Utah our home.
Snow falling at Bearclaw Cabin
Cold winters in Utah were like cold winters in Wisconsin and Nebraska, complete with shoveling, scraping car windows and long dark nights. The ugly months between November and early April depressed me with their constant frigidity and hassle. Walking out of the house, I would grit my teeth and brace my muscles for the icy blast. It was my least favorite season.
Then things in my life changed. A few years into our marriage, the time felt right to have kids.

When I Grow Up

 My goal in life had always been to be a mother. Back in first grade when my teacher asked what the class wanted to be when they grew up, I eagerly raised my hand and bounced in my chair until she called on me.
“I want to be a housewife!” I said with a smile. It’s what my mom called herself, and she got to stay home and play with kids all day.
My teacher shuffled some papers on her desk and looked away. “That’s, uh, nice dear. Anyone else?”
My smile faded. Had I said something wrong?
In my high school National Honor Society I told a boy I liked that I wanted to raise my kids full-time when I grew up.
He sneered. “What a waste of potential.”

Stay-at-Home Mom

Even with the negative judgments, I still wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I loved kids. I felt raising my own children was a duty and a privilege. No other profession seemed as rewarding or fun. Unlike my sister, I had no desire to be a doctor. In college I started out as a Communications major, but quickly switched to a Marriage, Family and Human Development emphasis because the classes were so much more interesting.

Now, here I was with a great husband, steady income, and willing heart. I wanted to be a mom more than anything. But months passed. No pregnancy.

Mountain Mom and Dad without kids

My malfunctioning body conspired against me. How could this be happening? All I ever wanted was to be a mother, but despite the research, doctor visits and romantic interludes, pregnancy eluded me.

All those inspirational posters that said “Work Hard and Reach Your Goals” had lied to me. Despite my best efforts, each month was a disappointment.

Rebellion

Seasons passed. Fall turned cold. Yet another month came and went. This time, instead of sadness and disappointment, a rebellious fire ignited within me.
If the Universe wouldn’t grant me this one true desire to become a mother, then screw the universe! I’ll just do something else I’ve always wanted to do – learn to snowboard.
I’d watched the X games and the Olympics. Snowboarding ladies Lindsey Jacobellis, Gretchen Bleiler, and Hannah Teter inspired me with their medal winning performances. They were around my age and super athletes. Racing, hucking tricks, landing jumps – since I couldn’t have a baby, that’s what I’d do.
Never mind that I’d never really skied or snowboarded before (unless you count the reformed garbage dump). I would learn and become amazing.

Learning to Snowboard

I believed (still do) in a Hobby of the Month mentality to life. So when January rolled around I signed up for a multi-week women’s clinic at Brighton Resort in Utah. The Learn-to-Ski-and-Snowboard-month special came at the perfect time. For less than the cost of four full day lift tickets, I got four small group lessons, four lift tickets, breakfast the first day, lunch the last and the chance to progress with the same group of ladies, all of us new to the sport.

That first day I rented boots, bindings and board, met my teacher and three other classmates and headed over to the beginner area. I strapped one foot into my board, hobbled over to the magic carpet lift and felt a sense of accomplishment when I made it to the top. Then we glided down. That was the idea anyway. In reality we fell. And fell. And fell.

Ski Resort

The three-hour lesson saw me on the snow more than on the board. Wetness soaked through the butt of my pants, my cheeks flushed with exertion every time I wrestled with the contraption I had strapped to my body. Ninja roll, balance, push up, stay steady. Learning to snowboard required muscles I never knew I even had.

We never even made it to the lift that first lesson. Even so, something about the experience won me over. I kept coming. Kept trying. Rejoiced when I made it down the bunny hill having only fallen twice.

Hobby of the Month

January’s experience of progressing from magic carpet to bunny hill got me hooked. I bought a board and helmet of my own and signed up for February’s women clinic. Then again for March.

Nobody watching those first few months would’ve considered me a natural snowboarder. My abilities were a far cry from Olympic quality, but the thrill of sliding down the snow kept me coming back. I couldn’t get enough of that heady mix of speed and danger.

Mountain Mom Snowboarding

Not only that, but I saw progress on this new goal I’d set. I wanted to learn to snowboard. Each lesson that goal felt closer. Learn to get on and off a chair lift. Learn to balance on the heel edge and toe edge. Learn to turn on green runs, then on blue.

Unlike my goal to be a mother, snowboarding followed the inspirational poster’s mantra. I worked hard and soon I reached my goal. I had learned to snowboard.

 To Be Continued

Come back later this week to read Snowboarding and Motherhood Part 2.

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

1 thought on “Snowboarding and Motherhood Part 1”

  1. The hobby of the month is an amazing idea that I’ve loved to see you follow. So proud of you, achieving your ambitions!

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