Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hold my hand

It was one of those nights that when I put my head down on the pillow at night, the next time I opened my eyes it was morning and time to get up. All of those hours passed as if they were one second. One minute at most. Unlike yesterday the weather was calm today. It was overcast however and sometimes the clouds were all the way down and I was in fog as I drove to the mountain. The road was clear, but you couldn't see the mountains from the valley floor. I parked in the lower parking lot, got my gear on and made my way to the bunny hill lift that would take me to the main resort area.

There were quite a few people standing in several lines including a ski school of very little kids and a couple of instructors. They were finding single adults to ride with the kids. So I stepped up. I got paired up with a little girl. The ski school kids wear different colored bibs depending on their ability level. There is a clear pocket on the front and back that has their name written on a piece of paper and their number. I was with Claire #8. She was very small and she had a green bib as did all of the rest of the kids in this group.

I know that black is the most advanced, and I think the colors go, white, blue, green, red, black, but I could be wrong. One little guy explained the system to me once. He was a black bib and he let me know that was the best. For instance if you are a blue bib, you can't get back up by yourself if you fall down. These are very small kids.

"Can you get on ok?" I asked Claire. "Yes" she said. We skied out and the operator helped her on the chairlift. Her legs were so short that her knees didn't bend and stuck straight out on the chair. I always reach around with my arm behind the center post of the chair and get a hold of their jacket when I ride with a little kid like this. I also put my ski poles on my lap and infront of them so that I have them completely restricted if need be. Sometimes they start to wiggle around.

"How old are you Claire?" I asked. "4" she said. "4,.. Cool!" I said. She had a pink jacket with a hood that I was holding onto. She had a helmet and pink goggles. Her little skis had masking tape on them that each said Claire #8.

When we got to the top of the lift I asked, "Do you know how to get off?" "Mm mm mm" she said. "What? I asked, "Mm mm mm." she said. "Ok" I said. I couldn't hear what she said as she spoke so softly so I just prepared myself to grab her and lift her off. Then she turned and looked up at me with this little smile. She reached around and took my hand from behind her back, guided it around the center pole of the lift and said "Hold my hand." "Oh, hold your hand, ok" I said. And I took her little hand.

We both stood up and she jumped off the chair and used my hand to steady herself. We skied off holding hands. :) "Good Job Claire!" I said as she let go of my hand. Away she went with her little pink arms out and joined her group of little skiers who were waiting for her. Like a little duckling swimming back into the fold. It made my day.


Anonymous said...

Aw. That's so cute! You couldn't dig your camera out and take a photo with one hand? :(

don said...

I didn't have my camera on me, but I wouldn't do that without the parent's permission and I wouldn't ask. At least not a close up shot. Sadly we live in a world of exploitation.

I can't imagine anyone harming one of these little ducklings.

But what a wonderful thing for these kids to be skiing together at such a young age. By the time they are 6 they will be pretty good skiers.

Anonymous said...

What a cute story! I can even picture little Claire on the lift with her tiny legs sticking straight out.

I'll bet in that moment you held her hand and jumped off the lift, you were a kid again yourself.

"Hold my hand." How sweet is that?