If you live as far north as we do, you must embrace winter. After an ice storm and a blizzard, we drove to Sugarloaf Mountain. Downhill skiing is the best family holiday for tweens and teens. It’s the age of pushing off and taking risks. A mountain has trails and trails of hazards.
I’m sure many of you are questioning my logic, but I grew up taking risks and survived it. I loved the feeling of speed; it was the antidote to high school stress, both social and academic. Instead of racing after fast guys or experimenting with drugs, I galloped young horses through Central Park at dawn and on winter vacations I skied until twilight.
I loved that feeling at the mountain peak with the world stretching out below me. The hardest part was pushing off into space, falling through the air and trusting my skis to catch me on the next mogul.
I never skied alone. I had my buddy Evelyn, who is now a ski instructor. I haven’t skied enough to be that good. My younger brother and I didn’t have much in common, but we were great ski companions. My parents couldn’t keep up. Now I’m the parent with bad knees and slow turns, but I’ve given my children a good start.
At Sugarloaf the kids and I accidentally found ourselves on a double diamond expert slope with monster moguls, rocks and bushes. It wasn’t fun, but it showed that even after taking a wrong turn in life, you can still make it down.
Skiing is the best family holiday because you can break up and go down different trails and meet at the bottom. Over dinner, there is an instant conversation and lots of laughter. It sure beats: “How was school?” “Fine.”
Maybe the fact that I’m still skiing means that I haven’t abandoned my inner teenager. I loved writing the teen scenes in my novel S.A.D. Some women adore babies, but I’m truly enjoying the tween and teen years.
My 11-year-old daughter asked me to take her to see the movie Twilight and urged me to read the book myself. Twilight? For those of you not raising a girl over ten, let me explain. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight is THE love story of their generation. Girl meets boy, but boy happens to be a vampire who is lusting after her blood. Boy tries not to lose control and bite her, but girl wants to become a vampire too so she can remain 17 and in love forever. Freud would have a field day with it.
Twilight is just the book for these times. It’s the ultimate story of abstinence, of acknowledging the carnal instincts but just saying ‘no.’ If you are a teenager, or remember being one, then you know that this is near impossible.
In many ways, the most unrealistic element of the story isn’t the vampire but the notion that bad boy love could be eternal. Only a teenaged girl could believe that, but this book was written for them. Its appeal to adult women must be the same as those snowy cliffs to me; some of us want to jump off and believe that we’ll be caught. It’s a rush.
My one objection to the story is that Bella is too much of a victim pining for her dark hero, Edward. There are tough female vampires and Bella is no shrinking violet, but this book still feels gender stereotyped. I want to take Bella aside and explain that Edward isn’t going to change her; she needs to change herself. Am I a middle aged mother? My daughter and her friends are totally in love with the series.
Meyer may not have mastered the subjunctive (eg if Edward was a vampire?) but she has mastered romance. The anticipation is more than the kiss. Edward is incredibly appealing, and the story is a fast paced page turner. I would have adored Twilight as a teenager. Meyer captures first love but also the tortuous insecurity of trying to fit in and not having control of the future. Bella worries as much about bad hair days and proms as about falling in love and dying. I’m happy to have survived my teen years and to have them behind me.
Donna at The Doll Sweet Journal and Jane Green both blogged about Twilight. It’s interesting the range of emotion this ultimate teen story elicits. Love it or hate it, Twilight is taking the world like Harry Potter. Teenaged girls (and women) are devouring hundreds and hundreds of pages in days. This is good.