Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sledding and Snow Angels

One of the best things about parenthood is reliving your own childhood. And winter is one of the best times to relive your childhood.

I grew up in one of the best winter places in the entire world. Not only did I grow up in New England, where the snowy winters provide the best sledding weather ever, but I grew up across the street from the perfect ice-skating pond, and not only did we have a small hill in our backyard that worked in a pinch for sledding, but we lived within walking distance from the best sledding in town.

Nun’s Hill was arguably the ideal sledding spot. It was high enough that you got a really long ride, steep enough that you got a really great ride, had enough of a flat area before the road that you could USUALLY stop before either crashing into a parked car or careening into the road, and it was enough work to walk back up the hill that the kids pooped out just around when the parents had had enough and were ready to head for home. And of course, Mom always had hot cocoa with marshmallows waiting for us by the time we managed to take off all our snow gear.

Oh, the snow gear. The snow pants with the little bib and the suspenders. The mittens that zipped tight over your sleeves. The hat that tied under your chin and had earflaps. The snow boots. And of course, the Wonder Bread bags with the multi-colored polka-dots that went inside your boots so your socks wouldn’t get wet when the snow inevitably crawled inside your boots. Oh, those were the days.

Today, as I was getting my kids dressed in all their layers to go sledding, I was thinking back to my own childhood. As I watched my husband pulling my daughter back up the hill on her sled, I recalled my own daddy pulling me and my sister up the hill on our wooden toboggan. As I sat down to race my son down the hill – the first time my middle-aged backside had graced a sled in over 20 years - I remembered how excited we were when my mom would join our sledding excursions. As I looked at the lineup of big and small boots dripping on the hallway runner, I was brought back to the brown plastic boot mat by the backdoor in my parents’ house. As I warmed up my daughter’s chilly pink cheeks with my own warm ones, I recalled both of my parents rubbing my cold hands with their warm ones.

And as my son and I made matching snow angels in the snow, I thought of my parents, looking down on me from above and laughing. I’m sure they were remembering the same memories that I was. And I hope that many years from now, as my children play in the snow with their own children, they will be thinking back to memories that are as joyful and precious as the ones I’m thinking about today.

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