“Let’s go skiing this weekend,” my wife Marie said.
“What?” I replied, using one of my stalling tactics she’s now very familiar with.
“You heard me. I want to go skiing,” she reiterated.
“Skiing?” I asked with a puzzled look, again stalling.
“Yes. It’s the thing where you go down the snow-covered mountain on those two … skis,” Marie said with frustration.
“Oh, that. Well, I wish we could, but I signed Parker up for that novice wresting tournament Saturday morning and the boys both have basketball on Sunday,” I said with feigned disappointment. I like skiing when I’m actually doing it, you see, but all the work to get up on that darn mountain is a bridge too far for my imagination.
“Listen, I don’t get four-day weekends very often, so I want to take advantage of it. And this is probably the last chance we’ll have to go skiing this season,” said my nurse practitioner wife.
“If you really want to go, we’ll go,” I said. “Missing the tournament isn’t that big a deal (though we won’t get the $30 entry fee refunded) because he’s not part of a team there, and I guess the kids could miss their last rec basketball session.”
In all honesty, this was a difficult statement for me to make, as it goes against just about every fiber of my being. I’m the kind of guy who believes deeply in fulfilling commitments, in showing up for what you signed up for, in being on time and staying to the end. Therefore, the idea of blowing off stuff is pretty anathema.
But in the days leading up to the weekend in question, as we debated going or not, and as my wife simultaneously investigated destinations and hotels, I started to realize something — we needed this. My wife, as she had indicated, definitely needed this; and the more I thought about it, the kids and I could use it too.
So we went for it. On Saturday morning we left early, piling into the car for the two-hour ride from where we live in New Jersey to our destination in Pennsylvania. The first part of the ride was uneventful highway driving, but when we got closer, things got scenic, with beautiful farm country dotted by old (but very cool) looking barns. We all pointed things out and laughed as my little one kept asking of each structure, “Are we staying there?”
We arrived at a very nice place, checked in and went to rent our equipment. Now, I’m not going to sugar-coat things for you — renting skis and boots for a 5 and 7 year old is a little slice of hell, but we made it through the near-hour-long process and over to the mountain. Once there, the boys lasted about two-hours before going on ski strike and demanding a return to the room to play hide and seek.
At that point, of course, I really wanted to stay on the mountain, so I was a little frustrated they threw in the towel. Looking back with a few weeks’ perspective, however, I realize that they did pretty well. It was cold.
We spent the rest of the day having some drinks, hanging out together and getting dinner, followed by some splashing around in the pool.
The next day, we were ready to head home after breakfast. We were all contented that we’d gotten what we needed. It was a super-short whirlwind excursion, but it hit all the right notes, and everyone was satisfied. We even wound up making Tyler’s basketball game on Sunday afternoon.
I had consented to go on the trip, to miss our obligations, when I put on one side of the scale the missing of those commitments and, on the other, the upside of spending some quality time with the family – one, like most of yours, that’s usually running around in parts. Looking back, I definitely feel I made the right decision. Of course, sometimes (even most of the time), the right move is doing what you said you’d do. Sometimes, however, it’s ok to play hooky, for that’s when you make the best memories. And perhaps, just once in a while, it’s even more than ok to do so; it’s downright necessary.