Sunday, March 18, 2012

What I Didn't Do for Winter Break

I'm almost done! 

Here's the progress I've made on my list:
  • I decided we would wait one more year and start Ella in preschool when she is three years old. (whew!)
  • 60 Minutes did an article about red-shirting kids for Kindergarten. (that's not crazy at all)
  • A former student of mine gave me a writing assignment. (how's that for success?)
  • I dropped Medicine A and two or three dress sizes, but I still haven't exercised once in 2012. (must do something about that)
  •  Being Ella's Mommy is the only job I've ever been good at AND liked so much. I've finally found my calling.
  • Body image (see bullets 3, 4, 5--more on that later)
  • 99 of 100 (what I didn't do for winter break)
  • oh, and don't forget, I made a table (see bullet 1)
 That's right! All I have left to write about is winter break.


The other day I walked into a conversation about winter break. Specifically, it was about going skiing during winter break. And sometimes spring break, or that long weekend in January. Unless those vacations were spent water skiing or riding various motorized vehicles in the desert somewhere.


I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, except for that moment when one of the women asked me if I had ever been water skiing.


At that moment, I got to say, "No."



I've gone skiing approximately three times in my life with friends who were regular skiers. I like it. I fall down a lot and I have a death-grip on the ski lift because I am scared of heights, but I like it.


I'm just not from a family that did those kind of things. My parents worked during winter and spring breaks, and summer, too. We did go on summer vacations, but usually we went on a camping road trip for a week or so, with a couple of special nights spent at Motel 6, so that we could sleep in beds, have real showers, and eat something not barbequed, often at Denny's.


My brother and I liked these trips. We learned how to pitch a tent so well that years later, when he and I went to Wildflower for a triathalon that he raced in, we got to the campsite late and drove to our spot with our headlights off so that we wouldn't wake the other racers. We pitched our tent in the dark. No problem.


In the summers, our parents drove us to the beach and we played in the sand and splashed around in the water. We had boogie boards that we loved, and we'd pretend we didn't hear our mom beckoning us to return to shore for lunch or to go home.


We didn't surf.


I wouldn't say we were exactly poor--we lived in a nice house and each had our own bedroom, we both played a musical instrument and we had a piano (the most valuable thing in the house), we were Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, my brother did organized sports (AYSO, a running club, and then in high school track and cross country), I did ballet in junior high and high school, and when I was perilously close to failing chemistry we hired a tutor.


For having parents who moved to Canada from India with practically no money just after they got married when they were in their early 20s, all that is a lot. We moved to California when I was in first grade, and they still live in the house that we grew up in.


I think maybe skiing and water skiing are things that middle-class Indian immigrants don't do. At least, I can't think of anybody I know who did that stuff. Actually, we were one of two (three for a little while) Indian families at our elementary, junior, and high schools, so I'll even divide the descriptors. I don't know Indians who ski or water ski. I don't know many middle class families who do that stuff, either. Though, I suppose some of the upper-middle class kids at our school did do that kind of thing. I know a lot of them were surfers.

Justin, too, didn't do a lot of that stuff with his family. I think he has water skied with friends, and he was with me for a couple of my ski experiences and definitely has done more skiing than I have. I know his best friend since early childhood owns various off-road vehicles (what are those called?!?!), so he's always done that kind of thing. He is a surfer--he got his first surfboard when he was a kid and still has it along with several more.

Now, I look at Ella and wonder what her experiences growing up will be like. We live a block away from the beach and we'll be in this house for at least two more years (we just signed a new lease!), so we all plan to spend lots of time in the ocean. Last summer, she wasn't really walking yet, so we didn't go very much, since crawling (and putting everything in your mouth) and sand aren't the greatest combination. Hopefully, I will learn to surf (I got a foam board from Costco when we moved to Redondo Beach four years ago, and my attempts to learn that first summer were meager. The next summer there were no waves at the beach two blocks from our apartment (our surfer-girl-ER-resident-Hawaiian neighbor called it Lake Placid). The last summer in Redondo, I had a newborn baby girl.). She will definitely learn to surf; her daddy is counting on it.

Skiing and snowboarding are no longer out of the question based on expense, though given Justin's foot (cold makes the amputation hurt a lot more than usual, and half a left foot doesn't stay in a boot that well, nor does it help with balance) and my inexperience they're probably not going to be a priority for us. Water skiing is even less likely to happen, given Justin's partially amputated left foot and my relatively irrational fear of boat propellers based on that amputation. I want Ella to be able to say that she has done these things. I want her to know that she can try them if given the opportunity, which seems likely now that we live in this town where parents take their kids skiing on the weekend.

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