Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened.
With the arrival of warm temperatures snow skiing has come to an end. There are some who will find a sunny spring day to glide down slushy slopes and one last time end their runs with a much anticipated beer on the deck. But, I have finished for the season. Over the weekend, my husband and I packed up all of the belongings we had managed to drag up north and moved them from our rental. As I emptied over-flowing cupboards, filled with the generosity of visiting friends, and stuffed suitcases stretched tight against their zippers, my thoughts returned to my anxious greed in December to move into this winter haven.
The idea to return to weekends spent skiing full time at Gore Mountain and enjoying all of our winter time friends came to me as I talked with two of my sisters about our very small inheritance. Our mother had recently passed away from her long slide into the nothingness of dementia. We felt the money was a gift and should be put to use in a way that would honor both our mother and father. We were in awe at the financial ingenuity of our parents, a teacher and insurance salesman. How had they managed to raise, feed, clothe and then send seven children to college and still have enough left for Mom to be well taken care of at the end of her life?
As ideas were thrown around I came to my conclusion. Sitting on a screened in porch on July third, overlooking a lake in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, it was difficult to imagine the following winter. Yet, I could feel the tingle of frost as I formulated my plan. I knew it was very likely during the winter of 2012-13 my daughters would be living near or with my husband and me, an opportunity that may not happen again, at least for some years to come. Our girls are young adults, in their early twenties. The notion of them both ending up living in upstate New York is a farfetched dream. I did know however, they would spend time with their parents, at least for a few months, if I enticed them with the lifestyle they grew up loving: skiing every weekend during the winter.
As my idea brewed in my head, I also imagined a writer’s retreat for my group, where we could spend time doing what we all love, putting our thoughts down on paper. Along with that, weekends of fun and laughter crowded my mental image. With the rental, the friends I so adore and cherish would once again have a place to gather. This spot would be an inviting sanctuary to ignore the painful truths of our lives and lose ourselves in raunchy jokes, good food, great adult beverages and the comforting companionship of dear friends.
The winter months went by, as you can guess, all too quickly. One day it was time for the first run, the next, the annual end of the year slush cup. When the car was packed, I wandered one last time through the living room of the chalet, turning off the gas fireplace and locking the doors. Through tear-filled eyes I saw the smiles and I heard the laughter. I smelled the candles as they were blown out on my daughter’s birthday cake. I saw the realization of joy in my husband’s face when we surprised him with a family, plus two boyfriends, dinner at his favorite restaurant. I heard the giggles of young adults echo throughout the loft and saw, once again, their card games at the big dining table. I sensed the sound of clinking wine glasses raised in salute during the many toasts that took place as we gathered to share our meals. I knew then, as I heard the door lock one last time, my intuition had been correct. Renting a home in the Adirondacks was a true celebration of my parent’s gift.
I smiled, because I made it happen.