My boys seem to think I don’t like playing in snow, and I can understand why they think this. I love snow, but snow as a child and snow as a parent of young children are very different things.
As a parent, snow means digging out endless pairs of gloves, drying jackets, tucking pants into boots, dragging sleds out of the garage, and making cocoa. It has very little to do with enjoying the snow, and everything to do with helping others enjoy the snow.
Suddenly, though, things are different. My youngest has suddenly reached the age of snowday self-sufficiency, and so my snowday role has dwindled to making large vats of cocoa for hoards of neighborhood boys. Why am I the neighborhood go-to girl for cocoa? Because I’m stupid, that’s why. And my backyard is the best sledding hill in the neighborhood.
When the neighborhood hoards descend upon my back hill, I spend the day anxiously gauging the potential for injury inherent in each new stupid idea they come up with. I’m tickled by their creativity, but I don’t think my home owner’s insurance company will feel that’s a good excuse for allowing children to maim themselves while on my property. Build a snow ramp, hose it down, let it ice up, then snowboard down the hill blindfolded? Sled towards the house, using the deck to stop yourself? The deck that will be level with your face and bash all your teeth in, that deck? Oh, you clever little ducks! On these days I find myself yelling out a window at someone else’s teenager, at least once, “I told you not to do that, and if you won’t listen then you need to go home!” I’m the snow police. Nobody wants to be the snow police.
Yesterday, North Carolina woke to the perfect snowday. Three inches of snow had fallen overnight, perfectly piling itself onto every branch of every tree. The sky was blue, the sun was shining warmly enough that the roads were clear by midmorning, and I took my boys to a local park with wicked hills.
It was the first time I’ve sledded in years, and it was awesome.
Yesterday I wasn’t on duty, and the safety of other people’s children was not my responsibility. Knocking Riley down in the snow to take his sled, whooshing down the hill head first with my hat pulled over my eyes, pelting the boys with snowballs as they snowboarded…. it was wonderful not to be the adult in charge.