Saturday, April 16, 2016


Dear Spike:

The timing could not have been more perfect.

On the morning of Jan. 31, you took your first solo snowboard ride. A few hours later, I smashed into an aspen tree, breaking my leg in too many places to count.

My season was over. Yours was not yet halfway through.

There were days, here and there, that you rode with others. The Campos family took you out a few times. My good friend Robert rode with you on another occasion. Your mother, brave woman she is, learned to downhill ski in no small part so that she could ride with you.

But for the most part you were on your own. I'd crutch over with you to the bottom of the lift, give you a hug, and you'd be on your way. Oh, the double takes you got from the lifties when you'd hop onto a chair all by your lonesome.

Of course I wish I had not broken my leg. Of course I wish I'd not had to deal with the pain and the limited mobility. Of course I wish I could have kept riding with you.

But what happened happened. And because it did, you got to make the mountain your own this season. And I figure that's a good thing, because we live in a world in which kids — and particularly only children like you, it seems — don't get as many chances to practice being independent as they probably need.

I'll be back next season. We'll ride together again. But I'll also understand when you tell me, now and then, that you'd just like to ride alone.

Sometimes that's the way it's supposed to be.