Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Blues And Some Good News

January is a tough month. It feels like 31 days of a nasty holiday hangover. Each day I promise to write something, anything and each day I end up curled on the heater vent reading magazines or trying to engage in some sort of acceptable meditation or come up with some excuse for lying perfectly still while the hot forced air dries out my skin.

I suppose I am like this every winter. I hear it in my mother’s voice as we commiserate over the phone. Where she is it’s below zero, the sun’s muscle powerless in the frigid air and where I am is socked in with fog and rain, the gutters spill like waterfalls onto the soaked lawn.

We did travel in search of sun -- to Sun Valley, Idaho, the sky an unreal crayola blue against the crisp white Sawtooth range and the sun blaring over the peaks -- eerily similar to a child’s drawing proudly hung up on a refrigerator door.

Sean is becoming quite a skier. My husband, with the patience of Job, taught him to ski four years ago and taught him well. It did not come easily. Any mere mortal would have thrown in the towel on the first day. I can still clearly remember one incident (of many) when Sean took a terrible spill and screamed and tantrumed, hit and scratched my husband ran in circles and rolled in the snow. My older son and I watched the whole ugly scene unfold from above in a chairlift.

“Sean!” my oldest yelled down to the bundled up boy moving as if his body was exploding in flames, “You like the chairlift?”

Sean became still for a moment, then his head darted about to find the voice and then he spotted us up above, his cheeks still visibly red from his tantrum and from burying his face into the icy snow. The idea of being lifted through the new night sky on a chairlift, his body sifting through starlight, was the redirection he needed and he trudged over to my husband demanding another ride, getting back into his bindings and pushing his hands into his mittens. The neurological storm had cooled. He was ready to go again and my husband, seemingly unaffected by it all, was ready to take him for another run.

You can anticipate at least two or three horrible meltdowns with Sean each day of skiing. A wipe-out will always precipitate one. If somebody skis to close to him is another. And then there are the unexplained, the ones that come out of nowhere, the meltdowns that usually start with something so illogical (“Why don’t I have a W in my name?” or “Sam didn’t mean to clap?”) that you just have to hold on tight and hope that it lifts as quickly as it has landed.

Sometimes a plate of French fries will distract him. Or hopping into the snow drifts with his heavy ski boots. It’s usually hunger or his body out of sorts, tumbling away from him and making him disregulated. And sometimes, we take turns walking him to the car – his hot tears and screams drawing stares and comments. On the worst days, we call it a day and hope that the skiing will prove to work as some type of exposure therapy.

But I have to say, I am wildly proud of my little guy. And of my husband. He believes in Sean in a way that I don’t know if I can. He could care less what people think of his boy because he knows what a trooper Sean is. He sees a skier in our son -- a thrill seeker. He sees a child that can do anything if only he sets his mind to. In this new year, I want to be more like that -- I want to hope and I want to believe that Sean can do anything he so desires. Why not?


Gimky said...

I am so impressed that your husband taught Sean to ski! Especially since it takes such awareness and a certain 'flow' of concentration, I can only imagine how hard it was initially. Right now, we would love to get Belac off his training wheels. He's going to have to learn how to just go with it and how to keep at least minimally focused. I might need to write to your husband for tips! At least how to retain my sanity through the process! :)

The little comments you share from your older one shows how he really gets Sean. What a kind, amazing kid he is!

Anonymous said...

Ooh! That was a goody, Katie. Auntie B

Armann and Katie said...

What a wonderful blog, we enjoy reading your posts. Come and visit us at
where there is an award waiting for you!