“Damn, Liam is going to have a heart attack.”
The one thing I never had when I was growing up was money. My parents worked, and my father often took as many overtime hours as he could or picked up odd jobs on the side to make sure my mom and I had a comfortable life. As a teen, I had a job and learned the value of a dollar. I never whined to my parents that life wasn’t fair or stomped my feet when I didn’t get my way.
As Jimmy drives toward Santa Monica to the ski shop, I wonder where I went wrong as a parent. Spoiled doesn’t begin to describe Eden right now. I know some of it has to do with her environment and the fact that her father is a musician in a successful band, but I can’t help but ask myself—where did I go wrong? I suggested to Jimmy and Eden that we rent their ski equipment since this was our first time going. You would think I started the next world war or something with t
he hand flailing, the dramatics, and the “I have to have the best” comments that followed. Jimmy agreed with her, and I did what I always do, deferred to him. The way I see it, it’s his money, and if he wants to spoil her, he can. He’s earned it.
Eden is an amazing daughter. She’s a straight-A student, focused on a career path, doesn’t disrespect Jimmy, and has never done anything for either of us to lose trust in her. So, why am I so upset that she’s pitching a fit about going to Vermont for the holidays instead of Hawaii? Deep down, I think it’s because it’s something I really want to do, and Eden gave me flack about it.
Jimmy pulls into the parking lot, finds a spot farthest away because he doesn’t want anyone to ding his Escalade, and shuts off the engine. For a moment, we’re silent. Eden’s enthralled with whatever song or podcast she’s listening to, and my mind is racing. I’m excited to see Katelyn and Josie, to spend hours upon hours with my best friends, but the snow isn’t my thing. I hate the cold, especially after living in California for so long. However, I’m willing to brave the frostbite for some fun and relaxation.
The three of us pile out of the car. Eden trails behind Jimmy and me, with her ear pods, plugs, or whatever the heck they’re called these days, jammed into her ears. When we get to the double doors, Jimmy stops and turns toward our daughter. He holds his hand out, and she sighs as she drops her phone and ear thingies into his hand.
“Thank you, Little One,” he says with a smile. Jimmy has never stopped calling Eden by the nickname he gave her as a baby. To my knowledge, she’s never asked him to stop. Even if she did, I don’t think he’d listen to her. He likes to use pet names. Mine doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
He opens the door for us and ushers us in. I watch as he and Eden take in the store. I know zilch about skiing or snowboarding and can honestly say I’m not sure I’ve even been sledding.
“Where do you want to start?” I ask. They’re both wide-eyed, and I have a feeling Eden is now a little more receptive to the idea of being on the mountain instead of the beach.
“I want to try snowboarding,” Eden tells us. She points to the wall of what looks like mini surfboards but wider than skis.
“That’s probably a good idea,” Jimmy says. He motions for Eden to go check out the boards, and I follow. I’m here for fashion advice, only. I had planned to stay home and enjoy the quiet, but Eden insisted I come to help her pick out the right outfits.
We’re barely at the snowboard section when a young man approaches us. “Dude, no way. My friends are never going to believe this,” he says in a surfer dude type accent. I already know what’s coming and have long learned to ignore the fangirls and guys who sometimes bombard the guys.
“All right mate?” Jimmy says, shaking his hand and sidestepping that the guy clearly knows who Jimmy is. “We’d like to look at your best snowboards, please.”
“Gnarly. Gonna hit Tahoe, Vail? They have the best pow pow.”
“Pow pow?” Jimmy questions while I snicker. Jimmy loathes guys like this, who speak in slang. Most of the time, he can’t understand the surfers Eden hangs out with and claims it’s because he’s British, although he’s lived in the United States longer than he ever did in England. There have been times when he’s straight-up started talking in a cockney accent just to throw Eden’s friends off.
“Listen, mate. We’re going to Vermont to snowboard. We’ve never done this shit before, so we need you to hook us up with the best.”
“Sick bro. All right, let me show you what we have for you bunnies.”
“Make sure they get helmets,” I blurt out. Eden’s eyes go wide, and I shrug. I tap the top of her head. “Gotta protect the melon.”
“Brain buckers are a must.” The salesman snickers. He starts pointing at boards and saying things that I don’t understand. Instead of following them around as they he shows them what they need, I stay near the clothing rack and start looking at snowsuits I think Eden would like. Knowing Jimmy, they’ll each get a couple, so they aren’t wearing the same one repeatedly. I’m sure the same can be said for the others that will be there.
By the time Jimmy and Eden have been outfitted with boards, boots, and brain buckets—as they’re so aptly referred to in the store—they find me deep in the clothing section with a pile of items in my arms.
“You know we’re not moving there, right?” my lovely husband points out.
“I know, but I figured you’d want a couple of different outfit options, plus I couldn’t pass up these flannel blankets.”
“Mum, Vermont is like home to the flannel or something.”
“How do you know this?” I ask her.
She looks away sheepishly before making eye contact. “I may have done some online surfing.” A small smile creeps across my face, and she puts her hand up. “Stop with the smile. I’m still mad but trying not to be a brat.”