Not the best kind of memories made

“Some weeks, the columns just write themselves.” 
Those were the words I said to some strangers on a chairlift in below zero temperature through snot-frozen facemasks and goggles. 
We decided to take a family ski vacation this year in lieu of Christmas presents to each other, but seeing that this fun winter sport costs more than a cruise around the world, we also spent plenty of nights eating noodles and playing card games.  (We actually like those things—I’m not complaining.) 
Being our first full family ski trip, I really talked it up, telling the kids about how magical the village is at night, with lights and music that makes you feel much younger than you are.  There’s a faint smell of a woodfire in the air and a super cool vibe that just makes you want to live life and drop everything to become a ski bum.  “You’ll never want to leave!  It’s the best!”
And then we actually starting heading to the mountains.
There are times in one’s life when the saying “when life gives you lemons…” comes into play.  This was one of those times.  It felt like we had gallons of lemonade.
First night into the trip, I awoke abruptly in the hotel room to the sounds every parent dreads.  The sound of a vomiting child. 
“Mom, I saw you leap twelve feet across the room,” said an on-looking sibling.
And so it began, our trip to West Virginia with a car packed full of skis, barf bags, and a stomach virus.
“Lemonade,” we reminded ourselves.  Let’s make the best of it.
My husband and I took turns playing the roles of ski guide and nurse, and I re-earned my motherhood badge of honor by catching things in my bare hands that should never actually touch human flesh.  And then, one brief afternoon, the entire family was up and happy and despite the winter weather warning and wind chill advisory, we had a great time.  “It’s all worth it!” we said.  “This is great!  Best vacation ever!”
We spent the evening eating noodles and playing cards next to the little electric fireplace in our room.  Life was good.  Lemons, be gone.
And then, the third night into our ski trip, I awoke abruptly in the hotel room to another set of dreaded sounds.  I must be dreaming, I thought, this must be a nightmare.  Sadly, it wasn’t a dream.  Sadly, my children like to share.
And so it began again, our turn-taking of nurse and ski guide through the winter storm that took the wind chill to nearly -40 degrees.

“Mom, we’re just making memories,” said the one kid who stayed healthy (at the time of this writing.)  Making memories, yes.  Barely making lemonade, definitely. 

Originally written/published 2/2015


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