I woke up this morning with a great deal of excitement. Two days ago we got about 7” of snow and yesterday, while at a nearby park, I spotted an excellent place with a slope that was steep enough to provide a bit of speed for my two children (almost 7, and 2.75 years old) while I also not being ridiculous big for a hike upwards to the top. It was perhaps about 60 ft. It was perfect for sledding.
Sledding is a source of many positive memories for me growing up. It was a popular activity in Edmonton where I grew up and it was a common wintertime activity especially since I wasn’t much of a skater. I was going to give my kids the most exciting time of their life. Oh yes, I will be “fun daddy” as I am sometimes called by the toddler.
I began the arduous task of collecting clothes and getting them dressed. After what can only be described as 3 days later, we were ready to go. When we got to the park, Allie (the toddler) was excited to hold one of the sleds. It was light and so I let him, but it was clear that there was no way he was going to go anywhere fast if left to walk on his own. The half foot snow amounts to 17% of his height and it’s slow going with him even on a sidewalk. This wasn’t going to be easy. So I decided that it might make it easier to trudge a path up there and if we just keep using the same path eventually he might be excited enough to make the trek himself. So I carried him up the first time. We had 3 different sleds. The traditional wooden toboggan. Not sure what it’s called in the U.S. so feel free to look that word up! One sort of surfboard like thing with a plastic bottom and the plastic disc sled. The snow was completely untouched and the first two went nowhere. On the disc, both Dhyan (my eldest) and I went nowhere also, but Allie slid down slowly. But it made a track and compressed some of the snow. After a few more times of me carrying Allie up and trying it again we had a viable track, and my older son was able to go down also.
It all sounds good, but my 46 year old body was already feeling it. I was thinking this hill isn’t nearly as big as the one I went on as a kid. Of course the last time I went sledding I was a teen in my prime able to walk up any hill myself. Also the hill didn’t have this much freshly fallen snow to trudge through. In Canada so many kids go sledding that whenever I would go, it was already a smooth packed surface to easily sail down, and one didn’t have to wade through deep snow to get up to the top. Many people had already taken the path up. As I continued to lug my toddler back up and then go back down for the sled I could tell I was sweating. Sweat dripped down my face, and inside my winter jacket I could tell I was getting soaked. I was worried about getting chilled so I knew I had to keep exerting energy. No matter how well traveled the path was getting, Allie could not climb on his own. I began to feel like Sisyphus, the boulder was my toddler. And every time I’d get him to the top I would watch him go down again and then go and retrieve him.
Eventually the kids soaked from snow and daddy soaked from sweat I packed them into the car. I remembered that the difference between my toddler and the boulder is that I am sure the boulder, never yelled excitedly as it rolled down. Poor Sisyphus might have even enjoyed his torment if he felt the boulder was having a good time. I asked Dhyan as we drove back if he had a good time and he said yet. I felt very satisfied. The feeling was short-lived. “Daddy can we do it again tomorrow?”
As I sit here in my chair. My back, very angry a me right now, I think to myself that I should have known my toddler wouldn’t be able to go up that hill. Still it was worth it. Nevertheless I’d like to thank my parents because while they were certainly younger than I was when they took me up hills, I’m sure it was no easy task and I thank them. Let’s hope I heal in time for round 2 tomorrow. Unlike life in Edmonton, snow doesn’t stick around here in southwest Pennsylvania for very long so we have to take advantage of good snow while it’s here.
I need a hot tub.