As a veteran football widow, I've come to know what to do to keep the kids happy, the husband happy and myself relatively sober during an NFL football Sunday.
But now we're in the playoff season. And that means Saturday AND Sunday games. Lucky for me, it's been a-snowin' like the dickens outside. Unlucky for me, we don't have a quarter-mile hill running down our backyard, like I had growing up.
So, I drive my kids to a sledding site. Lucky for me, it's easy to get to. There are also no trees or telephone poles in the sledding path. Unlucky for us all, there's a two-way street at the bottom. But, the town is kind/smart/wary of lawsuits enough to shut the street down for a few hours on busy sledding weekends.
I've taken Ryan a number of times, and Cara at least twice. You'd think this would make me #1 Mom. Mom of the Year. Best Mom on the Block, at least.
But -- and the established readers will already know this -- no.
Me: "Hey, it's a great day to go sledding. Why don't you get your stuff on and we'll go over."
Cara, making a beeline anywhere away from me: "I have homework. LOVE YOU!"
Ryan: "Why do you keep doing this?!"
Yep. I'm told over and over by my kids that "I'm old" yet I'm the one longing to fly down the slope, hopefully catching some air as I hit a few mogul-like bumps in my path. I guess sledding is for old people now. It's not Xbox, it's not Skype or facebook or Netflix. It's what old people do, until they need a hip replacement and turn to indoor games like "Where's My Damn Bi-Focals?"
Last weekend, I took my sister and one of her sons with me, Cara and Ryan. This should have
been an all-out good time for my son: snow, sledding, a male cousin. Yes, I know: not the free-for-all he'd like with all the boy cousins and uncles who pull out shovels to create jumps of ill-advised heights.
But whatever, it should have been considered something decent.
Ten minutes after our arrival, Ryan was insisting he couldn't go fast enough because the snow wasn't "any good." Thank you, Bob Costas, Jr.
I recognized a recent storm had made the snow a little rougher, but it was certainly sleddable. Ry took a few more runs and determined he'd had it. My sister and I, meanwhile, were doing run after run, looking for the premier area on this very wide slope, doing our best to not take out any small children along the way. See, it's funny when another kid does it, yet "frowned upon" when an adult causes casualties.
Luckily for me, a bystander dad heard me and Ryan spiraling toward a "negative conversation." He pointed out an area further down the way that had a steep start. Ryan, feeling pressure from an outside source to appear agreeable, decided to give it a whirl. Bam! It got my son to the very bottom of the hill and inspired him to take a few more runs.
However, about 20 minutes later, my sister and I noticed all three kids standing at the top of the hill, chit chatting. My kids are routinely ready to conclude their sledding day after a half hour, so clearly we moms had wickedly forced them to run past their limit.
Ryan: "Why do you guys keep going down the hill?"
My sister: "Because we've got the keys!"
Me: "What's up with you guys? You're all done?"
Cara: "Mmm, yeah. Are you almost done?"
My sister and I were like, "What is the deal!?" We came to the conclusion that it must have been how we were raised. Once my mom got her brood of five out the door with all our snow gear on, I don't recall being allowed back in for at least two, if not five, hours. My mother may remember it differently.
My sister and I got in a couple more runs, the last one of which was a race that I let her win -- because I'm older and didn't want her to be all sad... and stuff. But, I'd like to point out, in an effort to NOT run into some small children, I had to swing right onto a cruddy path full of footsteps and lumpy snow, thus taking me way off course. But, still, I let her win.
Because I'm an adult. Obviously.