I think I can easily say that my seventeenth birthday was far more incredible than I could’ve ever dreamed it could be. It lasted for three days, through some miraculous twist of space and time, and merged into both Elisha’s and Mom’s birthdays. Three days of fun with my family, as well as with a few friends, on a snowcapped volcano in New Zealand!
I half-believe that the night before our first day on the slopes was the longest of my life. I felt like an eight year old on Christmas Eve. Sleep simply wasn’t an option. And yet, like an eight year old on Christmas morning, I couldn’t have been more energetic when the long awaited daylight hours finally arrived. I wasn’t the only one, either. My brothers were just as excited as I was.
It was perfect outside, crisp and cool. I watched from the kitchen window as the sun rose, red fire burning the horizon, reaching up to set the cotton ball clouds alight with golden flame. The frost that had covered everything overnight slowly melted away from the windows of our much-loved campervan, the Thunderpig, and we were on our way. Ezra insisted on wearing his helmet on the way there. Elisha put his ski boots on almost an hour before we arrived, only to have to take them off again to climb over the pile of ski equipment and out of the camper when, amidst squeals of excitement, we arrived. Luckily for us, it didn’t take too long to get geared up and on the hill, where we could let our excitement loose! To my delight, I discovered that I could still ski without too much difficulty. It’s been a few years, and I was a little worried about that. Turns out, it’s a bit like learning to ride a bike. Once you know how, you don’t really forget.
It was epic. Or, as one of my best friends would say, I was drowning in epicsauce. I chased my Daddy down the biggest hills we could find, bounced over moguls, flew through the air on jumps, and only wiped out once on that first day. There was also a rather inglorious moment where we went down a hill that was probably way too advanced for us, and ended up intentionally sliding down feet first, without our skis. Not the most graceful way to go, let me tell you. But it wasn’t until the second day that I managed to pull off some of my most spectacular wipeouts. In one, I wiped out an entire mogul bump. The second was worse. I may have been overtired. I may have simply hit a bump the wrong way. Whatever the reason, I was skiing along peacefully one moment, and I found myself spinning through the air the next. Somehow I managed to launch myself off the ground at a perfectly flat area, twist my body into a tangled mess of skis and poles, and land hard on the hill (which was mostly ice, by the way) a long moment later. For a moment, I didn’t move. I simply lay there, mildly wondering if I’d made an entertaining explosion of snow, and trying to assess the damage. As I’d landed, I had felt an incredible pressure in what might have been my tibia, almost as if it was bending. The pain there was quickly vanishing however, and it was my thumb that really concerned me. It felt like it was broken. I pulled my glove off to get a better look. To be honest, when I saw it I was a bit freaked out. It was quite a bit longer than usual, for one, and it was also twisted at a slightly odd angle. I wiggled it tentatively. It hurt like mad, but it moved a little. After a moment’s thought, I realized that it was probably just badly dislocated. A quick look around showed that there was no one nearby to help me out with it, and Dad was waiting at the bottom for me. I could see him, but he couldn’t get up to me. I had no choice but to fix it myself.
I’m not all that new to dislocations. I have rather loose joints, and my shoulders in particular come undone all the time. So I took a deep breath and pulled the thumb up and gave it a twist. There was a horrid crunch, some pain, and then it slid back into place and started to swell.
I didn’t do much skiing after that, but it definitely didn’t ruin my day. After all, we were skiing in July! It doesn’t get much cooler than that!
I want to thank my parents in particular for the skiing experience and for making my birthday the best I could’ve ever dreamed of. I’m so blessed to have parents who work so hard to make sure I have a great education and childhood, and so blessed to have three great brothers to share that time with. I can’t wait to see what adventures this next year holds for our family!