My husband is amazingly kinesthetically gifted. He has an innate knowledge of his body and can coordinate his movements fluidly. He picks up on technique easily and applies it in a broad range of sports. But, he is also patient. He is able to explain the mechanics that come so naturally to him. This has made him an excellent coach with the kids' sports and a wonderful teacher to me. He has challenged me to explore this type of intelligence and the results have generally been good. He taught me to golf and dance, and through those activities we have become closer. With his patient guidance and gentle constructive criticism, I thrive and can do things that I never thought I could. Snowboarding is the exception.
For about a year and a half I have been promising to give snowboarding a try, and fortunately there has always been something to thwart our plans…until yesterday. I only made it to the kiddie hill…the one that doesn't even have a lift but uses a conveyer belt instead. On the hill, Tom would tell me to just dig in my heels and stand up, and I found that I didn't even have the core strength or balance to do that. I felt like I was an elderly person trying to get out of a chair that was too low. I probably spent half the time we were there just trying to get myself vertical. I finally figured out that I had more luck doing it toe side. The worst part was just trying to get out of the way. I felt like the frog stuck in the well, three jumps up and slide back two. When an employee told me to please try to move to a different area, I could feel the tears welling up. "Dude, I am trying…I really am." When I finally got close to where Tom was, I could see on his face that he saw my distress, but I was just glad to be close to the safety of his encouragement again. When I was almost there, a woman, who I am sure just meant to be supportive, started giving me a lecture on how I needed to smile. She said I wasn't going to get it if I didn't have a good attitude. That if I just have fun, it will be easy. She was nice in her delivery, but she just kept going, and the tears that I was fighting back started to make it to my cheeks.
For the first time, Tom told me that it was ok to quit. He was proud of me for trying. He comforted me. I struggled a little bit with giving up, but I realized that I really didn't enjoy being there. I had some small amount of success, but even when I was kinda getting it, I still hated it. So, with three year olds whizzing past me, I eventually made it to the bottom of the hill and unstrapped my boots.
I told Tom to go on without me and I would grab some coffee and wait for him in the lodge. I told him I would be fine and happy waiting for him, and he reluctantly went on to enjoy a couple runs. Even so, he came back much sooner than I expected. He wanted to spend the day with me. We went back down the mountain early, returned my rental equipment, had dinner, and visited our new favorite coffee shop. All the while, Tom told me what a wonderful day he had with me. And you know what? It turns out I had a good day too.