‘Shall we go snow tubing?’
I blinked for a few seconds wondering if this question was directed at me. ‘What tubing?’, I asked. Yes, I am the perennially ignorant one. He then opened YouTube and showed me a video of snow tubing. I turned around and directed the question at the decision-makers of the house. ‘Shall we go snow tubing?’, I asked Ammu and Kuttan. One was enthusiastic. The other, who’s been scared of such dare-devil acts from time immemorial agreed reluctantly.
Finally the tickets were booked for New Year’s Eve and off we went snow tubing.
A little context here. The one who is scared of heights and speed and all kinds of adventure sport has inherited the same from **drumroll** me.. me.. me. I am the scaredy cat of the house who would even think twice before stepping on a carousal. So well, I can’t blame the poor child, can I?
While the dad and daughter were super enthusiastic about this entire thing, I was praying hard and suppressing my increasing heartbeat levels all the way up the hill. But I appeared calm and zen-like on the outside, lest the son should back out. Firstly, we were trying to overcome fear. But second and most importantly, we had paid enough money to back out at the last moment. Yes, we are cheap like that. I was giving him pep-talk after pep-talk about how he needs to let go of his fear and just be in the moment. ‘That’s when you’ll enjoy the whole experience!’, the sage in me concluded. Deep down, I knew this was more a speech directed at myself than him.
After about an hour of endless driving, we reached the much dreaded destination. As soon as the snow-tubing area became visible, even the otherwise daring daughter started to get a little flustered. The hill was quite high. The air was super cold. And, the screams (happy screams, if I may add!) were quite loud. Height. Cold. Loudness. The three banes of my life. Yet, I tried to get myself excited. I am doing something I’ve never done before, I told myself. The excitement spread but I could see the fear in the kids’ eyes.
An escalator (or the magic carpet, as they called it!) took us on a hike to the top. It took about three-four minutes to reach to the top. Which meant, three-four minutes of insanely increased heart rates not knowing how the first slide would be. The view from the top was beautifully scary. The son who tried to fake excitement until now finally gave up. ‘Amma.. I am scared. I don’t think I can do it,’ he muttered. Those would’ve been my words too. After all, it was just some money we’d be losing, I would’ve told the husband. Then, I remembered what I had resolved. Letting go.
As a first step, here I was on top of a snow clad mountain, all set to let go. I was going to let go of my fear. If I failed in this, it would mean I broke my resolve even before it began. ‘I’ll go first’, I said. The husband looked at me with wide eyes. ‘If I go first, the kids will know it is fun to do it. They’ll follow me. Plus when they get down, I’ll be there to receive them.’ I don’t know what possessed me to say that. As I contemplate it now, the only thing that could’ve prompted me to do it was the fact that I wanted the ordeal to get over quickly.
As I sat in the tube watched by two pairs of scared yet excited eyes, I muttered a prayer in my head. ‘All set,’ I said looking at them. ‘I’ll see you down the hill. Bye!’ The husband, who’s vowed to be with me in-sickness and in-health did his duty by pushing the tube with his over-weight wife. Later, we joked about how he took all his frustration on the tube. Much later.
While on the way down, I didn’t dare open my eyes. All the three times I went. I could feel small particles of snow hitting my face. I could hear people in the next lane screaming in joy and excitement. I could feel my heart thumping against my ribs. Yet, my eyes were closed tight. Finally, when the tube met the mat at the bottom of the hill, I could feel at peace. The peace of conquering my fear. The peace of walking the talk. The peace of being a parent who could show the kids the power of letting go.
Well.. The kids did their bit too. More than their bit actually. They not only conquered their fear but had so much fun doing it. They went on the tube and slid down the hill again and again and again and again.
A small leap for a mother; a giant leap for the family!