The freedom of flying down the hill with nothing fighting against you but wind and friction is the greatest feeling. There’s no stress about school, or homework, or anything that may sit in the back of your head while you watch TV on your couch at home. The only thoughts that roll into my head are, “Should I hit that jump?” or “Which trail should I take next?” The smell of snow and pine trees and the view of a thousand miles of snow covered hills all around you. It sure is hard to think about anything else when you are going down a slippery hill at thirty miles per hour while trying to dodge rocks and eight year olds. I feel like I am able to do anything that I choose, like I have total control over what I do which I don’t feel in most places.
Of course, when I’m at my house I am technically home. It’s where I go every day after school where I sleep, where I do my homework. I spend most of my life at my home, but I don’t always feel free when I’m there. It can be stressful with the constant homework and other activities that I have to focus on, but when I’m skiing all of that goes away. It feels as if when ever I am home there is always something that I am worried about. If there’s nothing directly in my mind that I am concerned about, I worry that I am forgetting something that I should be worrying about. Also, since I have been skiing for almost thirteen years I feel connected to any mountain that I am on. I feel like I belong there and that nothing can take me away from it. I feel like I am one with the mountain and the trees around me.
I woke up on that Saturday morning. I went through my normal routine as I grabbed a bagel and hopped on the PS3. I was playing a game that I was finally allowed to play after years of waiting. I heard footsteps on the wooden stairs and I turned around. I was not expecting to see my mom standing there, so I began to wonder. As soon as I saw the tears well up, I knew what had happened. It hit me like a brick. I knew that my grandfather had died. I was told to get dressed and that we were going to the house where there was a line of familiar cars and unfamiliar ambulances out front. We walked in the door slowly and it felt like an entirely new place. Whenever I would walk into that house before that day, I saw smiles all around. There were stories and jokes being told, but not today. There was a circle of emotions on the porch in the back where I sat because I couldn’t stand inside to see the stretcher come in the door.
I knew it would be hard for my dad. It was the day after his birthday and he found out that morning that my grandfather wanted to see him the day before to say happy birthday, but it was too late. There is something that I learned that day. Something about me and my family. I never knew the side of any of them or even myself that was quiet. Nobody wanted to talk because talking was a trigger for the tears being held back. I didn’t want to say anything for quite a while. I thought the emotions in the air spoke for everyone in the room. It was a completely different feeling from any that I have ever felt in that house and I pray that I never have to feel that again.
To be one hundred percent honest, I never really liked my name until recently. For some reason, none of the kids in my classes really knew the name Colin. There were people who I had just met that would smirk or laugh when they heard it. I didn’t really know why, but this led my to want a different name. I liked the J-names for a long time like Jake, John, James, and Joe. That all changed when I learned what my name meant. Colin Alexandre DeLisle translates to “young and victorious protector of mankind of the island.” I thought that was pretty cool. Another downside is it seems everyone in my family has a name that relates to somebody else in my family. My dad’s middle name is his dad’s name. My brother’s middle name is my grandfather’s name. My sister’s middle name is my grandmother’s name. My brother’s middle name is close to my aunt’s name. Okay, so maybe that last one is not a fantastic thing, but still, I have nobody in my family with even relatively close names to mine. The last downside is, no matter how hard anyone tried, it seemed nobody I met was able to read and pronounce my last name correctly. I would get things like “Delizley,” “Deleesle,” and “Delizzle” which eventually became my nickname. Eventually I came to like my name and I’m glad to have it because it’s not overly common and I think it suits me. Just like everybody else, my name is the one thing I have that nobody can copy or take from me because it what sets me apart from the rest of the crowd and defines who I am, not anybody else.
My Grampi is definitely one of the hardest working people I have ever met in my life. He started off his life living with basically no money. He would sleep in his car when he was younger and he really didn’t have anything to be proud of. Once he decided that he wanted to change that, he worked hard. He would stay out and work while his friends would hang out and he would take whatever job he could. He is now the owner of his very own photography business in Tewksbury, MA called O’Connor Studios. His impact on me has been substantial. He told me to work whenever I could because that is what leads to a successful life instead of just accepting whatever you gain. He told me to pursue what I wanted to do and to work for it as hard as I possibly could. Of course I know that I am not going to live off of the pay I get from mowing my grandmother's lawn, so I have been looking for jobs so that I will be able to live a fun life down the road.
Looking at how my Grampi lives now with nice cars, a big house, and the ability to spoil his family, I decide that I would follow this advice because it worked for him. I want to have the ability to make my kids and grand kids happy when I am old. I know that money is not really needed for that, but I also want to be proud and for my family to be proud of what I achieve. I want to pass on that advice to my kids so that they will lead successful lives as well. I haven’t been able to follow the advice he gave me to its full potential yet, but trust me, once I get the opportunity to do something I love to do for the rest of my life, I will take it faster than the blink of an eye.