Last Sunday I drove over 14 hours from Conway, New Hampshire back to Fairfax, Virginia. On Monday, I took a much-needed break from an entire week of skiing and tidied up the house a bit. Tuesday, December 28, marked the first anniversary of my mother’s passing. After writing a post about her in Vietnamese, I decided to take my kids to the closest ski resort. I wanted the day to be a celebration. We packed up our equipment and headed to Roundtop, which was only two hours away from our home. My sister-in-law’s family also joined us.

When we arrived, around 10:30 in the morning, the resort was a bit crowded. We put on our gears and headed to the slope. Đạo and Đán went on their own with their cousin, Khôi. I took Xuân with me on the green slopes. I continued to work on my parallels, hockey stops, and short turns. I wanted Xuân to do the same, but he was still plowing.

Đán, Xuân, and I went over to the freestyle slope to do some jumping and grinding. We started out at the easiest ramp. In the meantime, Đạo and Khôi went to the blue and black slopes. I was surprised that they could do the blue and black slope. When Xuân heard that they could do blue and black, he wanted to try out the blue slope. I took him up to the blue slope with me. The initial hill was a bit too deep for him. I took off his skis and we both slid down on our butts to the bottom of the hill. I told him to wait for me while I walked up the hill again to get my skis. I skied down the hill using my parallels and hockey stops. I made it to the bottom where Xuân was waiting for me. Then we both zigzagged all the way to the lift.

Then I asked Đạo to go on the black slope with me. The first hill on the black slope was a bit steeper and rougher than the blue. Đạo plowed his way down. I followed him with parallels and hockey stops. When the speed picked up, I panicked and lost control. One of the skis popped off. The second time, I also made it all the way down the first hill, but I fell again. The third time, I decided to just embrace the speed instead of fighting against it. I paralleled all the way down and only braked when I was at the bottom. It was quite a thrill.

Đán and Xuân were exhausted around 5 pm and it started to rain. We packed up and headed home. The boys took a two-hours nap while I was blasting JAY-Z and Kanye’s Watch the Throne. We made it home around 8 pm just in time for dinner. I could barely stay awake to eat.

I thought of my mom during the entire trip. Two years ago, I called her up when I was driving home after our ski trips. She always told me to be careful and to take care of myself. She reminded me that I have four kids to raise and I shouldn’t be playing this “dangerous sport.” I told her I understood and reassured her that I took every precaution. Her words rang to my ears as I was driving home in the icy rain. She was watching us from above and keeping us safe. I love you, mẹ!