Tuesdays are fragile. The suspense sets in late Monday evening when I start to wonder if my babysitter will cancel or maybe the kids will wake up sick. Come morning, I quickly check my phone to see what the weather has in store—I love snow but hopefully it’s not too cold…or too hot! You see, if the stars stay aligned and all goes smoothly, Tuesday evenings are for ME. They are my 2.5hr escape from household chores, kids, and any other bull I’ve got going on—it’s when I get to meet up with a crew of rad women and just…ski.
A couple of months ago, I responded to a group invite to go cross-country (xc) skiing with a crew of women I had never met. I hadn’t been on my xc skis for 3 years and in the meantime, had birthed two kids. I was 6 months postpartum and had just wrapped up a lengthy core strengthening program to rectify the 3.5 finger gap in my abs and didn’t know what kind of stamina (if any) my body had. I was nervous, anxious, and trying to come up with every excuse in the book to tell myself that my body couldn’t do it…that I just wasn’t ready and needed to cancel.
Despite my best attempts to get my husband to agree with me, he kept saying “Just go, if you need a break, these women will understand. They are moms right? They get it.” Dang. To make matters worse, he even waxed my skis, grabbed the headlamp, and packed a bag with water. He knew I needed this. He’d just come home from a 19 day work trip and upon his return found a deflated, frazzled, and totally manic woman. That woman was me. I didn’t even recognize myself after taking care of a 6 month and 2 year old who both managed to get sick at the same time and zapped every last ounce of energy from me with sleep training, potty training, breast-feeding, and tantrums.
I walked up to the group of women standing near the entry gates and asked for Bonnie. She wasn’t there yet but 3 other women were waiting. We all started chit-chatting about our kids and sharing our “It’s been so long since I’ve been on xc skis…” stories. After a quick crash course on technique from one of the gals, we were at it. Within 30ft we came to our first downhill. Gulp. Downhill skiing is second nature to me but heading down a hill on skinny sticks was another story… I crossed my fingers and held my breath—the last thing I needed was a broken bone. Thankfully, we all made it to the bottom without falling. Stunned and shocked, the high set in for all of us as we looked back on the hill we had just conquered.
The energy was contagious and we all rotated through the group chatting non-stop, taking breaks as needed. There were 6 of us in total and every woman was so interesting and happy to be out. The group ranged from a mom who was 2 months postpartum with twins, to a seasoned mom who’s kids were in their teens. Despite my best attempts to “take it easy”, my adrenaline was pumping strong and before I knew better, I had suddenly done 3 laps. We ended on a lap that took us near the edge of a creek in which we all side stepped on grass because the trail had melted away. We couldn’t help but laugh at our terrible navigation skills and joke about surviving the adventure.
When I got home that night, I chattered away like a school girl sharing my experiences and stories from the other women. I was hooked—the countdown until next week was on.
Since that first night in January, I’ve lined up a babysitter for every Tuesday night to ensure that no matter what happens (husband home or not), I get to meet this group of amazing women for a ski. Despite the urge to sit, watch TV, pour a glass of wine, and be anti-social, my attitude immediately changes the moment I step out the door. Every week the group and trails change, and despite how exhausted and burnt out I am, I always come back stronger, happier, and energized. So that brings me back—Tuesdays are fragile. It’s a night that I place on a pedestal and cherish. A priceless experience that grounds me and replenishes my spirit. A mixed ball of emotion where I push aside the mommy guilt, let go of the daily chaos, and welcome a much needed release. The results? After breathing the crisp, fresh air and connecting with an inspiring group of women, I return a new woman—I return as me.