The day today was spent on the ski hill, one-on-one with my daughter Adelaide. One winter break finale. We purchased gear in a flurry yesterday, and with Kendra holding down the Threebs today at home, we hit the slopes.

It was drudgery at first. Trudging in hard-to-walk-in-boots through snow-filled parking lots, 14 rows of cars, into line-ups, until our first run finally commenced at 10:30 am.

And it was terrible. Foggy weather. Addie forgot how to ski. Crashes and spills and crossed skis and roll-overs and sliding down the hill on her butt.

As she was rocked backwards on her heels, skis in front of her, with her bottom dragging down the hill, she said: “Oh, this is a faster way to get down the hill.”

By run 2, everything was better. The fog was clearing. She’d remembered the technique. By the time the day ended and we were trudging back to the car, she said, “It was like the whole day went by in a minute.”

We call that her Addie-tude. She demonstrates a positivity that is simply relentless. An extraordinary cheerfulness and resilience that shines.

The day before yesterday, she had sculpted her own snow igloo in the backyard. But it melted over the course of the following day, and she was miserable when she saw returned and saw its misshapen, sunken form. Tears flowed as she attempted to climb into it, only to find that the best she could do was slump onto it and let it support her shape like a snow hammock.

“At least I made a throne,” she intoned, still choosing to see what the mess could be used for, instead of what the mess used to be.

The things we see, the people we encounter, the messes we make — they are the living narratives we occupy. The stories we are in are entirely our own.

When we describe something, we make it real.

Like gloves sculpt snow, or like skis carve slopes, our words shape narratives. Is it bad day skiing, or a faster way to get down the hill?  Is it a collapsed igloo, or is it a throne?