At the dinner table last Thursday, William asked to go skiing with several friends over the long President's Day weekend. My heart dropped into my feet as I mentally covered the list of reasons why the trip was a bad idea: 1. COVID 2. Potential skiing injury 3. Lack of ski gear that fit 4. Loss of upcoming swim season (injury) and 5. COVID. We gave the parental answer equivalent to "I'm temporarily speechless" otherwise known as "maybe."
Over the next two days, William provided details such as the phone number of the adult who was accompanying the teenagers, the link to ski rental, the detailed itinerary and food he would need to bring. His organized mind saw only the plan and its potential, whereas my paranoid brain processed mostly the negative "what ifs." But the plan was ultimately solid and so we let him go, our senior who is almost eighteen but whose freedom has been seriously curtailed by the pandemic.
We outfitted William with my old snow pants, Rob's ski jacket, helmet, goggles and gloves. It's been several years since he skied, due mostly to swim season as championship meets usually occur in February and March. Our kids learned how to ski when they were little, and as I watched William don the adult gear, my mind swooped back to memories of our six-year-old on short skis, rolling over moguls and diving down "blacks." I hoped he didn't aspire to those feats after such a long layoff with his foot or more of additional height throwing off his center of gravity.
While I was on the phone with my sister yesterday, discussing the rough draft of my book, William Snapchatted me to say that his ski day was over and there had been "no injuries, just lots and lots of fun." I put Karen on speakerphone so I could read his message and text back "hooray, hooray." I'm sure my flood of relief came through the phone and irritated my son to no end, though he responded with a picture of his smiling face.
Just as we're beginning a long-delayed and downsized process of letting go of our senior, I have to start letting go of the book I reviewed with my sister. It requires more editing before I release it to non-family beta readers, but ultimately it has to leave the safety of my hard drive and fly out into the buffeting winds of public opinion. For the first time, I will try to find a "real" publisher for a piece of my longer writing. Having only self-published before, that statement feels like a declaration of war - on my sanity, self-worth and security. But moving forward means letting go, and exploring new terrain, as William did yesterday, on skis in a foot of fresh powder.