We are snowed in. The world has come to a frozen stand still. We say our prayers and start the day.
At 6am, my son comes thundering down stairs and bursts into our room. “Mommy! Daddy! Look at the snow! You come look at the snow?” Our yard is blanketed in one and a half inches of winter wonder and he is ready to get to work.
After a pancake breakfast, we dress the kids in their winter gear. It takes 15 minutes of sweat and frustration for me to get all the layers on these kids. Half of this time is spent trying to get the right fingers into the right holes of the gloves. This task is made more difficult as my son proceeds to flail his arms around like a man on fire.
Finally, we are dressed. As we step out into the serene morning, we are greeted to a beat-down wind chill of 10 degrees. This is enough to make my wife turn tail and run back towards the house. Years living in Florida have made her soft. I sense her retreat and move to cut her off. I give her my winter cap…it placates her for the moment.
Eventually, we begin to adjust to the cold and survey the landscape. Where should we set up for sledding? I look across the street and notice the kids gathering at the bottom of my neighbors front steps. We make our way over to join the group.
After 30 minutes of sledding in the neighbors yard, everyone makes their way over to our back yard. Our back yard has a great little hill for sledding. The only catch is, while steep, it slopes alongside a stream bed. You know this does not end well.
After about 40 minutes or so of tearing up our back yard with sled ruts, the action is brought to a halt. I hear a large splash behind me and turn to locate the cause.
It is my next door neighbor. I move over to the edge of the stream bank and see him standing in a foot of water up to the bottom of his knees. I expect this from the children, but he is 50 year old man. I mutter to myself, “What the hell? This is what we are trying to avoid!”My initial surprise fades into the background, as logic over.
He is the only adult bold enough to go down the hills head first. He is also the only one teaching the kids how to dodge the “obstacles” by keeping their hands out in front of them. Obstacles like: brick mailboxes, trees, and unsuspecting kids who wander into the sled path. Broken arms anyone? We pull him out of the stream.
This whole incident should serve as a strong warning that we should discontinue our play. But did this stop us? No.
We play on for another hour or so with parents acting as bumper guards to keep their kids from splashing down into the cold stream. Good parenting? Probably not, but it gives us some time for adult interaction and to at least get through one luke-warm cup of coffee.
It is now 12 pm, and the kids are showing signs of hunger and exhaustion. The parents begin to gather their kids and belongings to head home. The snow is starting to melt now and an uneasiness sets in. Moms and dads begin to lock eyes with each other. Not a word is uttered, but we all ask the same questions. Will their be any left when the kids awake? If not, what then?
While the snow and ice started as an inconvenience, it is now a much needed distraction for our kids. There is still enough ice on the roads to deter travel. If we can’t travel and the snow is melting, what is left for us to do? Time will tell.
Also published on Medium.