Abby's Road: The family that skis together …

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When you decide that your family should ski on a regular basis, you are also deciding you want to live on the extremes of parenting on a regular basis.

A skiing family requires an extreme amount of gear. Something for every foot, hand, and head. Actually, multiple somethings.

To prepare a child’s head for skiing, a helmet specific to skiing is minimally required. It is also advisable to procure a head wrap that makes your child look like a ninja warrior. This head wrap might help a child’s ears avoid frost bite under the helmet. Emphasis on “might.”

Not done yet. This generation’s version of a neck-up should be at the party, too. It’s no longer made of turtle fur. It’s made of something exponentially more expensive. The ribbon around this package is a pair of goggles your child will hate wearing and will lose the first time she takes her helmet off.

To prepare a child’s feet for skiing, find the ski that holds the boot that fits into the binding. Multiply by two, per child. Pray your child’s skill level is somewhere below the “she needs poles” stage.

Knock on the hard plastic casing of the boots. Familiarize yourself with the material that will in no way protect your child’s feet from frost bite. Invest in toe warmers. Your child will lose them the first time she shoves her foot into her boot. You’ll find them around her lower calf.

You’ve now barely dressed your child for skiing.

A skiing family requires an extreme amount of schlepping. To approximate the Sherpa-like activity you’ve enrolled in, carry one sobbing preschooler, eight tree limbs, and a set of clanging steak knives up a local hill that’s covered in ice. Once you get to the top, remember that you haven’t even skied yet.

A skiing family requires an extreme amount of looking for something you just had. Everyday you will at best misplace at least one ski sock. It is more likely that someone will lose a mitten as you’re walking out the door to get to ski school. At some point, someone will forget where they took off their skis.

A skiing family requires a new appreciation for being on time. Watch an adult try to dress himself for skiing. Give him five full minutes to put on one of his ski boots. Remind him after he is fully outfitted that he forgot to use the bathroom.

The adult will not have sufficient layers on. He will not be able to put on his ski boot. He will insist that he does not need to use the bathroom, and then he will reach the trail and decide he must absolutely use the bathroom.

Now ask any child under 10 to prepare itself for a day of skiing. That child will stare at you, blankly.

A skiing family requires an extreme amount of swearing. Polite parents swear under their breath, or in a foreign language. Other parents just hope the children are too young to remember this part. Hand warmers for every mitten, snacks tucked into pockets, buckles buckled just so, zippers zipped just so, sweaters tucked just so. By the time a skiing family arrives at ski school as the class is departing, the mother has released a stream of swears so remarkable that she wonders if she should copyright them.

A skiing family requires an extreme amount of second-guessing. Why are we spending this much money to invent new swears? How are we sweating so profusely when all we have done is help someone else put on a boot? What are the life skills the children are learning, other than where to find candy and how to win arcade games?

But after the inevitable second-guessing phase comes the inevitable euphoria phase. That phase that keeps parents in the business of being parents.

Watching your children do a thing with confidence where first they participated in tears. Watching your children brave a chairlift on a cold day without complaint. Watching your children snuggle around a fireplace with rosy cheeks and tired eyes, bickering with somewhat less frequency.

A skiing family generates an extreme amount of satisfaction.

Sometimes.

Enough.

Abby Diaz grew up in Falmouth and lives there again, because that’s how life works. She blogs at whatsleftover.com. Follow Abby on Twitter: @AbbyDiaz1.

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  • Keep on keeping on

    “the Sherpa-like activity” made me laugh