For some of you reading this I’m sure that you have had enough snow and ice to last all season, and winter hasn’t even officially begun. But in St. Louis, my boys have been anxiously and impatiently waiting for snow to fall. We finally got a good amount of snow over the weekend, enough to provide the required foundation for sledding.
I approach sledding with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. The enthusiasm emanating from John and the boys is contagious. By the time we get all of our snow gear on, which takes oh, I don’t know, maybe 6 hours, the building anticipation threatens to explode and strip us of the gear we just nearly exhausted ourselves donning. We are all hot and sweaty in our layers by the time we get to the sledding hill, and eager to get out into the cold air.
That’s when the trepidation takes over. I watch the bodies fly down the hill in all directions at speeds you would never think possible from a little piece of plastic or wood not equipped with a jet pack. Ramps are jumped, ditches are skipped, and collisions are barely avoided. The most control a sled affords you is the decision as to where in your downhill plummet you will fall off of the sled, and if you choose not to fall off you are in effect making the decision to barrel into some other poor, unsuspecting sledder.
All in all, this scenario is a boy’s dream. Jack needed no assistance and was flying down the hill almost before we knew what was happening. I hadn’t even had time to scout out the hill and look for the safest spot. I thought the first sled down would consist of me holding onto his sled using my feet as brakes until we made it to the bottom safely. No such luck. I felt helpless as I watched him speed down the hill, bigger and faster sledders whipping past him on their way to sledding glory. He made it safely to the bottom, and then began the harrowing trek to the top of the hill trying to avoid those making their way to the bottom. I felt cheated and robbed of the few minutes of stress relief I thought that I would have between sleds. Getting back to the top of the hill was just as dangerous as getting to the bottom. I was relieved to see John reach the bottom on his sled and then act as a protective barrier for Jack as they trekked their way to the top.
At least Luke didn’t feel comfortable enough to ride alone. We rode together with my feet keeping us at a reasonable speed even as he chanted, “Faster, faster!” I had visions of my first time skiing and the wipe outs ending in "yard sales" that I endured.
It is amazing that, after over two hours of sledding, we were able to leave unscathed. And during those two hours we witnessed no other injuries. This was surprising to me, given that I saw people sledding on air beds, pool rafts, in-ground pond liners, and the frame of a go-kart on skis. These makeshift sleds were all driven by boys, by the way.
I added a few gray hairs to my collection yesterday, but we had a wonderful day and the boys were exhausted when we got home. It was very hard for Jack to sit inside for the remainder of the day and ignore the snow, so before it got dark he and John went outside for another round of play on the small hill near our backyard. Here is what Jack learned when mom wasn’t watching:
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