It’s the night before a ski day.
I pull out the boot bags from our storage room, and check them. My ski boots, helmet, goggles, neck-warmer-thingy, gloves, and everything are right where I left them at the end of the day on Thursday, my most recent ski day. I plug in my boots (my boots have heaters installed in them to help me survive the below zero days), and I check the chocolate supply in front pocket of the boot bag. There’s still most of a bag of milk chocolate pieces, wrapped in foil, so I’m good. I like to put a few in my coat pockets while I’m skiing. For energy.
I check Lily’s boot bag as well. Her boots, helmet, goggles, and neck-warmer are all in place where she packed them, but her ski mittens are missing. She’s six years old, and I’ve been trying to teach her to pack her own boot bag, just as I learned when I was her age, but sometimes she forgets a thing or two. I make quick trip up and down the stairs to retrieve them from her school backpack and put them in her boot bag, along with an extra pair of socks.
I dig through our coat closet and pull out my ski pants, and check to see that my season’s pass is still attached. I’ve been meaning to find a better place to attach it. I find my parka, and unzip each of the pockets to see what’s in there. I toss last Thursday’s empty chocolate wrappers in the trash, and remember to find some chapstick. Lily’s parka and ski pants are in still the dryer, damp from playing in the rain this morning.
I pack a lunch for each of us. Peanut butter and jelly, cheese and crackers, apple slices, yogurt, and granola bars. I’m proud of myself when I remember to fill up a water bottle for Lily, so I won’t forget to do it in the morning.
With everything lined up in our front hallway and ready to go, I head upstairs and open my dresser drawers. I pull out fleece leggings, a silk base layer shirt, a midweight layer, and a fleece. I do some digging around and find a clean pair of thin ski socks and make a neat little pile. Lily already pulled out her ski clothes before bedtime.
It might seem like a chore, getting all this gear organized and ready to go, but really it is not. There’s a routine to it that reminds me of all the other times this year, and in years past, that I’ve gotten myself ready for skiing. As I pack, memories of the same routine when Lily was even littler come to me, or memories of my first few ski days after Jackson was first born, or when I was a kid, or a teenager, or in college.
Earlier tonight, as I was packing, I thought back to my New York City years, the only years when the night-before ritual was not something I had in my life. I remembered sitting in my noisy Brooklyn apartment one dark February night, surrounded by piles of work, thinking to myself, What I wouldn’t give to be getting my ski stuff ready for a ski day right now.
These days, getting ready for ski day is a lot like wrapping presents, or cooking for a dinner party. It’s a chore, yes, but it’s also something I’m happy to be able to do.