Monday, July 22, 2013

Wow Them

clouds over Lake Tillery
Site of Wow.
My kids think I'm lame. They love to downhill ski--I'm afraid of heights (and skiing) and hate the cold, so I stay home. They love to play in the ocean--I grew up in lakes and am afraid of all the things in the ocean that bite, pinch, or sting, so I stay on the beach. I ferry them to sports and activities and play dates. I bake and craft and read books galore. But I don't do anything cool.

Daddy is the fun one. He swims with them. He skis. He body surfs and boogie boards. He's more likely to suggest riding bikes, shooting hoops, playing lacrosse, or anything else sporty. In my kids' estimation, Mommy not only doesn't do anything fun, she can't do anything fun.

I had so much fun proving them wrong. Water skiing at age forty-two was a personal challenge, but showing my kids I could do something cool was just as satisfying.

I learned to water ski when I was seven and to slalom (ski on one ski) when I was eleven. The muscle memory is still there, like riding a bike. That only gets me so far. I've also retained the muscle memory for a front walkover from childhood gymnastics, and when I tried that six years ago I thought I'd snapped my spine in half. At my age, knowing how isn't enough. Being able is the key.

I was itching to try it. It had been two years since I needed to ski at age forty to prove something. The water was like glass--mid-week, no boats, no wind. Conditions were favorable. My boat-driving dad understood what I wanted--a short ride solely to prove I could do it.

The kids looked confused and dubious at my single ski. Moms can't do that. I got up on the first try. I didn't fall. And I had so much fun. If I thought I could have done more without aches and pains, I would have, but I was too smart for that. Just one short, successful run. It felt great.

My kids' excitement was icing on the cake. Not only could Mommy do something cool, she actually did something cool. Unprecedented. The little one exclaimed at my turns and gifted me some hyperbole when she described my "jumps." The big one, who had just skied without help for the first time, just shook his head in disbelief.

A male college friend once told me the Contrast Method really worked for me. In other words, my typical jeans, baseball cap, and lack of makeup only made me look more amazing on the rare occasions I dressed up for a special event. I'd like to think that I now subscribe to the Contrast Method of parenting--lull them into thinking I'm completely boring and uncool, and wow them on the rare occasions when I'm not. I don't do it often, but that makes it all the more impressive when I do.

What have you done to wow your doubting kids?

1 comment:

  1. My kids think that my husband is the fun one too :) Mommy teaches them things and daddy is the one to play with!