It seemed so simple. A family of four sledding through snow, taking turns, waiting patiently for space to clear at the bottom of a big hill. An ordinary tableau, one unfolding on other snow-laden hills across New Jersey, delighted children and adults reveling in nature’s splendor. It seemed so simple.
But to our family, it wasn’t. To our family, this was huge.
We’ve weathered plenty of storms here in the garden state, have been able to get Justin outside on occasion, even convinced him making a snow man would be fun. However in the past decade I had yet to be successful in getting my boy on a sled, that staple of childhood many of us enjoyed and anticipated with great glee. For years, I couldn’t even get my eldest to wear the requisite snow pants. Sometimes, he didn’t like the feel of the boots. There was also the shunning of the gloves, the hat, and the refusal to get into the car in all his finerie. Despite his love of anything that moves, my boy was having nothing to do with a piece of plastic that slid down a hill.
Justin was an absolute trooper. He trudged quite a distance from the car to where a bevy of families gathered, never complaining once. He kept his gloves on while I encouraged him to hold on tight, and conquered his mountain not once, but twice, with the hint of a grin playing on his face during both trips.
At the conclusion of his last venture I asked him if he wanted more, and his response was an emphatic headshake “no”, which I honored with a return to our still-warm vehicle. We left Zachary to the splendor of snow with his father, trudging heavily up the slope to the parking lot, with at least his mother feeling victorious.
We tried something new. My eldest son liked it. And I would have thought this entire endeavor complete folly even a year or two ago.
I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions as I generally break mine about six days in, but the one I’m about to propose I heartily embrace. I need to remember to always stretch my boy, because he often surprises me. I don’t want him to miss a thing. And today, he didn’t. Today, our little family of four simply had fun, no drama involved.
And for that, I am grateful.