The first sounds I heard this morning were a dog barking in the distance and a little girl giggling in the room above us. She was hanging off of the banister of the chalet in her princess pink pajamas, flaxen hair rippling down the staircase and her blue eyes sparkling, on her way to bed when she asked me sweetly, “What time can I wake your kids up?”
I grinned at her. I remember what it was like to be seven with a big kid visitors that I was so excited to play with. “You won’t need to wake them, they’ve got their alarms set for 6:30 a.m.”
“Six thirty!” She rolled her whole head, an eternity to wait.
“Well, they’re teenagers and that’s very early for them!”
“IT IS?” She was incredulous as she padded her pink self up to her bed in the icy shadow of the mountain.
And so I smiled to myself, in the frosty fringed black, somewhere just before five, when I heard giggling, knowing the princess must be awake, waiting to hold court.
Imagine my surprise when the alarms went off and I met her Mama in the hallway:
“What time were your kids up?” I asked, “I heard them giggling this morning… so sweet.”
She met me with morning hair and a laughing eye, “MY kids?? That was your teenagers up before dawn and giggling with excitement!! We went in and told them to quiet down!”
And so it was.
They presented themselves with uncharacteristic promptness this morning:
Gabriel: straight out to the camper to sort out the mitten situation and make sure the Pig was ready to roll.
Hannah: usually our mellow grown girl was literally bouncing, both feet off of the floor around the kitchen, the long tail on her felt hat flipping and flopping joyfully behind her, as she fried her egg.
Elisha: who I always have to remind to have breakfast, had downed his before I had my first cup of tea to my lips.
Ezra: squared up, at attention, military style and gave his report: “Mama, I’ve got it all: My paper (where I’ve written down the skiing rules off of the brochure) and I’m wearing everything: two shirts, two pants, two socks, two underwear!”
There was a chorus of, “TWO UNDERWEAR???” from everyone over 13.
The other Dad smirked, took a slurp of his coffee and declared, “Well, at least that’ll keep your bullocks warm!”
Suffice it to say: the day was fabulous.
In terms of weather and scenery, the best skiing day we’ve ever had. The snow was a lot icier than we’re used to in New Hampshire, but considering we passed palm trees on our way up the mountain, we have nothing to complain about!
Of course no day is without it’s adventure: The second to last “blue” run of the day turned out to more “black,” with the lack of snow and exposed rocks. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it was “black AND blue” as 5/6 of us popped our skis and slid the steepest parts on our bums (the hill was empty, so there were no skiers rocketing down from above.) “Well that was special!” the lift attendant was kind enough to note, when we finally made it to the bottom. Not our most shining skiing moment. It was worth it to ride the lift up the far side of the mountain and see the peak playing hide and seek through the mist, and see the ice dragon, whose back we played on all day, baring her frost fangs in long straws of ice clinging to the exposed rock face at the far fringe of the hill.
The young people are tired, but happy. They can talk of nothing but the wonder of getting to do it all over again tomorrow.