In my very first class of my Masters program, my professor talked about the importance of having a happy place. I tried several different ones but nothing really settled solidly.
Two years ago my oldest daughter got a snow pass and we went skiing several times together and it was very enjoyable time together. I had offered to my oldest son to go with us but he declined. This year I offered to all of my four and they all wanted to go. I wasn’t sure what would happen.
Most family outings/vacations/trips don’t really go super fantastic. I expected someone would be done a quarter of the day and I would have to sit in the lodge with them. I had my Italian son with me and he would help but it could still be a bit of a waste.
To my surprise, they all loved it. The three who had not skied, all took one lesson and they nailed it. They haven’t had a lesson since and they are better than me.
Today was an accomplishment. Today I went without my Italian son (which made me incredibly sad because we miss him terribly). I doubted if I could handle it, I doubted if it would go well, but I had to try.
We didn’t get out of the house when I wanted because of work and when we left there was a few loud words – mostly by me to uncooperative children, ok mostly just one child. Again I worried how the day would go.
We got there and slowly the apprehension and tension melted away like the snow from the tree limbs in the sunshine. The day was incredible.
Clouds came and went, and it felt like they were playing hide and go seek with us. The sun kissed out cheeks and felt like God was smiling just for us. We had an incredible time. It wasn’t perfect because of a few falls (minor but still with tears) and one child insisting to play in the out of bounds area, but he only got lost once and I found him before having to alert any security (which has happened too many times to count in his life). But it was a significant accomplishment for me.
Today, as I went down the hill for however many times it was, I thought “Amanda, remember this.” What does it smell like, what does it feel like, what do you see? Capture this in your memory – and that’s when I realized this is my happy place. It is on the mountain but not just on the mountain – it’s with them: my four, incredible beyond words, offspring.
This also made me realize a happy place isn’t just about the place – it’s the people. That’s why my happy place was never solid, it didn’t have the people that make me happy. Yes they also make me sad and angry and tired, so very very tired, but they can make me happier than anyone else when they make me happy. They literally light up my world.
Life is difficult. It’s going to get more difficult this year, but I have my happy place; my happy people.
Full disclaimer – every ski day has ended with children in front of the TV while I have wine and an epson salt bath. I then go to bed immediately after and they fend for themselves. My body is definitely letting me know that I am not in my 30’s anymore Toto.