Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
We went sledding yesterday, at a local sledding hill known for steep curves and icy exterior. Boy-child’s friend, Little Big Man, brought his snowboard and saucer, and we loaded up several sleds, bundled up Girl-child and Boy-child, and traipsed over in the brutal cold.
I was just gonna be “Official Sled Holder”. Because I’m old, and feel pretty fragile, and haven’t been a sledder since I was a kid.
But after Girl-child went down a couple times, and I stopped freaking out that she’d go too far and skid into the parking lot, I asked if we could ride together.
I’m a big clucking Rhode-Island Red of a chicken butt.
So we went down.
We didn’t tip over.
We didn’t hit any other sledders.
We didn’t skid out of control and land in the parking lot in front of a semi full of pianos.
And it was FUN.
Out of control. Fun.
So we went down again.
I stood at the top of the icy hill and watched as Boy-Child and Little Big Man pushed off the sharpest edge of the hill, went out of site, and ended up sailing across the vast white plain on the other side.
Sergei and Girl-child went down the same side, first together, then separately. My heart was frantically staccato until I saw Girl-child, her hair blowing behind her, safely down.
After an hour of being wind-blown and butt-bumped, I decided I’d had enough, and opted to stand at the bottom and watch. Girl-child went down with me. We laughed and bumped to the bottom. Tumbling off, she waved “See ya!”, and started up the hill, pulling the orange sled behind her, while I crunched around the hill to watch her daredevil down the other side. I watched her ascend, stunned that this small child, my baby, was brave and strong enough to do this, all this, by herself. I watched Boy-child and his friend go up and down and up and down, on their bellies, their butts, their backs, forward and backward, sideways, and still trudge back up even after getting the wind knocked out of them and almost hit by a tree.
Girl-child came down one last time, bumping at the bottom and biting her tongue hard in the process, and ran to me crying. I hugged her for a while, and suggested we go home and make hot chocolate and popcorn and sweet things, and the boys would follow in a few minutes. She only cried for a minute, and held my hand as we wandered home, the snow hitting our faces, her tongue stuck out to catch snowflakes, her boots clump-clumping on the sidewalk. We talked about her upcoming birthday party sleepover, and school, and how many marshmallows should be in hot chocolate.
I told her she was brave going down the big hill all by herself.
She looked at me with her eyes shining and her cheeks like red roses and her mouth in a perma-frost grin.
“Yeah. I was, wasn’t I?”
I could learn a lot from that kid.