“Anyone need a pair of gloves?” I called out to the group of 17 excited students as we waited in the ski lodge. A chorus of “I dos!” overwhelmed me, and I noticed for the first time how inadequately prepared most of the kids were.
Last night I sorted through the bins of gloves and mittens that have languished in my closet for three years—we don’t need them in Arizona the same way we needed them in Montana. I found ten pairs of stretchy gloves—the kind you buy at Wal Mart for a dollar a pair, and two pairs of matching ski gloves and a mitten/glove mismatched pair.
I tossed them all in a big shopping bag on the off chance that a student or two might forget their mittens. I threw in a pair of purple long johns, an extra beanie, and a pair of waterproof rain pants—just in case.
The bus had left in the cold predawn, and the students were supposed to have proper clothing. The school provided helmets for all of them, but evidently we adults speak a different language from our students.
When we say, “Do you have a warm coat?”, they hear, “Do you have a sweatshirt that zips up?” When we say, “Do you have ski pants?”, they hear, “Do you have clean jeans?”. When we say, “Do you have mittens or gloves,” they hear, “Do you think your fingers might get cold in the snow? (the internal answer to that one is, “Naw, I’m good.”).
And so I shared. I passed out all but one pair of stretchy gloves (after all, I needed to keep my fingers warm), the purple long johns (a cold young man was not too proud to wear them), the rain pants (I offered them to the boy who showed up in shorts) and the beanie.
Despite the freezing cold and the gently falling snow—the kids had a blast at ski school (it was the first time out for most of them).
I get it. I really do. Our students don’t go skiing or snowboarding very often (once a year or once in their life). It doesn’t snow very often in the high desert of Arizona, so no one buys snow clothes (REAL snow clothes, not jeans and sweatshirts). But, oh, I wish I had so much more to share!