Here are a few SAT problems for you to work out:
Nuts are to squirrels as _______ is to Jake.
Blood is to vampires as _______ is to Jake.
Vegas is to gamblers as _______ is to Jake.
The answer? SNOWBOARDING.
The dude just can’t get enough. And now that we have a baby? He can’t get any.
To watch Jake snowboard is to watch a master at work – sort of like watching someone sculpt on a wheel or bake a souffle. He makes it look effortless even though it isn’t, and the joy he gets from cascading and carving through the snow is written in every graceful move that he makes.
I, on the other hand, hate the snow. Hate hate hate hate it. Of course, when we were dating, I made a point of trying to snowboard to painfully hilarious effect for the sake of our budding relationship. Once the ring was on my finger, however, I revealed my snow-hatred and Jake couldn’t bring himself to accept it.
In fact, he wanted so much to believe that I had a latent love for the snow that he struck a bargain with me: He would take piano lessons from me and I would snowboard in the Swiss Alps with him. Switzerland sounded pretty great – cheese! shopping! cafes! – so I agreed.
Six months and many hours of piano lessons later, Jake took me to Switzerland to snowboard. In the shadow of the Matterhorn – literally – I strapped a board on my feet and proceeded to fall and cry my way down a mountain for, oh, about 15 minutes, before throwing a tantrum in the snow and giving up. Jake, fed up but unfailingly patient, told me to go back to the hotel. I rode the board on my butt down the mountain (which was actually quite fun), returned all of my gear to the pro shop, and whiled the rest of my day away in a quaint cafe, drinking coffee and nibbling pastries.
He believes me now.
Anyway, since “the incident” as we now call it, Jake hits the slopes without me. Every winter for the past several years, he has grabbed a buddy and gone on a snow getaway to one incredible resort or another – Park City, Whistler, Tahoe – where he can do what he loves best without me getting in the way.
When we had Seabass last May, the annual ski trip was the last thing on my mind. So when fall came along with Jake’s announcement that he’d be snowboarding in Vail this year, I didn’t know what to say. As Jake’s wife, of course I wanted him to enjoy himself and continue to do what he loves, despite the new responsibility of fatherhood. But as Seabass’ mother, I was less-than-thrilled to lose my caretaking partner, even for a short time. The fact that I could never run off on a vacation with a friend now didn’t exactly help.
But in the end, I decided he should go. That was before the proverbial poo poo hit the fan.
A few weeks ago, Jake came home with a printed calendar and an apologetic look in his eye. “We need to have a family meeting after dinner,” he said, “And I’m warning you, it won’t be easy.”
Boy, was he right. Jake’s office had just let him know he would be traveling to New York for two separate weeks flanking his snowboarding trip. Now I really didn’t know what to say. He’d already booked his flight, lodging, lift tickets, you name it. How could I ask him to cancel?
Then, we saw the house. It’s not much – just a teeny tiny 800-square-foot house built in the 1950s on the other end of town. And it is in our price range if we eat beans and rice for a couple years. So we put an offer in, and it was accepted. Now, we’re in escrow, which closes the end of this month – when Jake was supposed to be in Vail.
I’d like credit for the fact that I STILL didn’t ask Jake to cancel his trip. Sure, I was in complete denial that I could 1) work a part-time job, 2) raise an infant, 3) pack and 4) move all by myself…but at least I wasn’t playing the martyr. And that’s pretty much how things were going until yesterday afternoon.
“I’ve cancelled my Vail trip,” Jake said with resignation. “I just can’t do it.”
“What?!?” I gulped, extremely surprised, to say the least. “But all your plans! Why didn’t you just go forward with it?”
He heaved a sigh that would break a heart of stone. “I can’t handle all the stress of money, work, the baby, and the house with a vacation thrown into the middle,” he said. “It’s okay. I’m okay.”
“Wow,” I said. “Well, so long as you’re at peace with your decision…”
“I wouldn’t say that,” he chuckled. “But I’m getting there.”
And that’s how it was left. He’s not going snowboarding this year because of money, work, family, and a house. This is the hard reality of growing up: not enough time, not enough money, not enough energy, not enough freedom. Don’t get me wrong – I love that Jake is a man, not a boy, who steps up to meet his responsibilities head-on. But I don’t want to see my independent, carefree husband being paralyzed in the web of adulthood. Who would?