October of 2011. I remember the date well because it was one of the few times I’ve actually planned ahead. I was at Target (surprise!) and spontaneously purchased two new, shiny, plastic sleds. One red and one neon green. Since that time, due in part to being out-of-town the one time it did snow, having a sick kid and/or global warming, they’ve been sitting in our basement storage, collecting dust, getting pushed aside by super-sized packages of paper towels, and just basically losing their ‘newness.’ I’ve been carrying this knowledge with me ever since, and it’s been bumming me out for quite some time now.
So, lo and behold, when we woke up to a surprise snowfall on Sunday morning! Woo hoo was I psyched! My first thought was, ‘The Sleds! We get to use the sleds!” And with that thought came a 30-second vision of my children frolicking and laughing together in the snow, sledding and making snow angels, and basically having a swell time in the snow and wishing the day would never end. A Family Moment.
30 seconds after my vision, reality kicked in. Searching for snow boots. (“I thought I put them in the upstairs guest room closet last year.”) Dressing. In layers. And hastily deciding to take the dog too. About an hour later, after the kids were finally fed, dressed, undressed again to go potty, dressed again with mittens, hats and scarves on, had another snack due to hunger while waiting (!), we finally made it out the door, across the street to the park and up the hill, with two shiny sleds and a very eager and excited dog in tow.
The snow, it turns out, was too wet to slide down. The sleds did not move, not even an inch. On to Plan B: We decided to make an igloo with these ‘snow brick’ makers I bought. (Fun!) About 16 bricks in to our crazy igloo creation, the dog, most likely on some kind of ‘snow-high,’ wacked the igloo with his tail before jumping all over the bricks in a manner a la Godzilla. Our igloo was gone. The soft moans I heard which I previously had been ignoring turned into louder groans of “My hands are cold,” “The snow is too cold,” and my personal fave, “I’m hungry.” (“Again? You JUST ate.”)
About 11 minutes and 23 seconds after we got to the park, we turned around, sleds in hand, and headed home. The Rockwell vision in my head had quickly been displaced by the reality of my world. Back in our home, we sat at the kitchen table, drinking hot chocolate, de-thawing, chatting about the snow, the benefits of powder over wet snow, why snowmen have carrots for noses and not celery, and why the hot chocolate I made was so hot. Just sitting around the kitchen table, enjoying another Family Moment.