As a mom, the phrase “Don’t eat…..” has come out of my mouth more than I would like and care to remember.
Or, my personal favorite: “Stop! Don’t pick up that up! NOOOOOOO! Don’t eat the goose poop!” Which I screamed in complete panic, and total sincerity, as I ran 10 feet in what seemed like five minutes to halt the progress of my two-year-old’s hand to his mouth. I was too late.
Luckily, my sons are older and I no longer have to police their intake as rigorously. Today, my food-related warnings and pleadings focus much more on trying to convince one son that a balanced diet consists of more than just starchy-carbs and lots of meat.
“Please try the artichoke.”
“The spinach is incorporated into the pasta — that is why it is green. Give it a try, you’ll like it.”
Or just your basic, “Please eat your vegetables now.”
But recently, my inner-mom was both completely dumbfounded and challenged by something I saw on the shuttle bus from the Snowmass base area to the day-skier parking lot. I’ll set the stage for you.
It was sunny. It was warm. There were 2 inches of new snow in the morning. By afternoon, it was sunnier and it was warmer and the snow was skied off and melting around the edges of the street and the parking shuttle stop — you know, it was turning into snow mixed with dirt.
Yes, apparently, while I look at dirty snow and think “That is dirty snow” two men on our bus look at dirty snow on their skis and think “Mmmmm. Delicious!” Bite-by-bite, these two guys (who were not sitting next to one another and didn’t appear to know one another) proceed to peel snow off of their bindings to quench their thirst. Amazing. And while I am totally disgusted, I can’t take my eyes off of them.
As I watch these ADULTS eat bite after bite of snow, I realize that a young girl is watching them just as I am — with a look of bewildered fascination. I can almost read her mind, “My mom would never let me eat snow off of my skis. I wonder how it would taste?”
“Please don’t eat the snow! You don’t know where it has been!” I want to proclaim on her behalf. “There is a child here. Throughout her infancy and toddler-years her mother has worked over-time to prevent her from eating things that could kill her. You are setting a bad example! Stop it now!” My inner-mom raged.
“Why that snow could have chemicals or dirt or ski wax or any number of really nasty things in it — it is not clean! What are you thinking? Thousands of perfect strangers have skied on that snow today!” I silently berate them. But aloud, I say nothing.
As I drove home, I pondered this scene. Why were the men eating snow off of their skis? Why was I so disgusted?
I was thirsty. Why wasn’t I inspired to eat snow off of my skis? Would that adorable little girl now try to eat snow off of her skis? Would my family eat snow off of their skis?
When I told my family this story, all three professed disgust. But then one of them said, “Wow. Those guys must have been thirsty.” Then another asked me “Was it fresh powder?”
Eureka! Suddenly, I knew that where moms see dirt, danger and disease, the rest of the world sees a smorgasbord. Those guys didn’t get sick from eating snow off of their skis. Goose poop didn’t kill my son or even make him ill. And the cute little girl on the bus won’t get sick when she tries eating snow off of her skis someday.
But her mom will. Just like me.
Please don’t eat the snow. We moms really don’t like that.
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