Monday, July 7, 2008

In Which Ethan finds his hero in Doug Coombs.

Tonight, I was watching my favorite movie, Steep, late at night (well, late for me, it was almost 11), when Ethan came wandering out from bed. He couldn't sleep. He didn't even say anything, just came walking out and climbed silently up into my lap and started watching.

He's seen clips before, but never really watched all the way through. As the movie went on, I could feel his vital, beautiful, athletic little body on my lap as he tensed before each cliff that Seth Morrison went off, and the sighs he had as he watched Doug Coombs ski down the curtains of the mountains in Valdez, Alaska.

He was completely taken in by Doug for some reason, and started whispering questions to me, trying not to interrupt the movie, but wanting to know more. We reached the part of the film where they reveal that Doug died in a skiing accident, and Ethan was so sad.

Here is what he told me: "The guy that died, Doug Coombs, he was like a hero. He is my hero. I want to ski like that, mom. Will you take me? Is it okay that Doug is my hero even though he died?"

I sat there for a moment, feeling so many things, so grateful to be able to share this moment with Ethan, to have him want to know more about something that is so full of joy, and so worried that I am exposing him to something that might be so dangerous for him.

And then I thought about some good friends, who are amazing living examples of the fact that while accidents happen in skiing, skiing is something that is so pure and so visceral, that its not something to be selfish about. Its not something for me to keep for me, that its alright for me to take risks and live my life completely, but not for Ethan.

"Yes, Ethan. Doug is a great hero, and I'm sure he'd be proud to be your hero." I told him. He squirmed with delight, and when the movie ended, he asked if we could watch the beginning, the part he'd missed. So at 11 at night, we started it over and watched it in the dark, together.

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