Rejoicing While Weary

jen murphy parker
11 min readDec 19, 2023

How, Exactly

Inflatables are people too.

The coldest I’ve ever been while skiing, I wasn’t skiing. I was crying.

It was a New Year’s Eve day, and we were in Tahoe for the holidays with our four young kids.

How lucky! And enchanted! Did I mention that at the time we had two little boys and two little girls?? Symmetry! Everyone knows that’s one of the most pleasing things life can offer. We all love it in a face. We all love it in everything else too.

I’d gone to the mountain that morning to launch my younger daughter into a ski lesson she was not happy about taking. We have yet to raise a kid who at some young age hasn’t regarded a ski school check-in as a deepest betrayal, acting as if instead of paying exorbitantly for four hours of instruction to learn a fun and lifelong skill, we were selling them into child labor.

After forsaking my daughter, I’d planned to ski myself for a bit. To move and be distracted, or at the very least to get numb.

But after a few runs, I bumped into a friend at the merge of two trails and I stopped. And I stood. And I cried.

I got cold the way you do when you are no longer moving on a mountain. But it didn’t matter: my body was just a heartbreak container. And if I froze all the way through, I could probably just be put on a counter and defrosted. The…



jen murphy parker

Jen Murphy Parker is a San Francisco-based writer exploring what exists in the middle - of parenting, of health, of life.