Hello, my name is Sarah, and I have never been sledding. That is, until last weekend.
We didn’t live a sheltered life, I swear. It’s just that, when it snowed, we bundled up with the neighborhood kids and built a “hill” on my dad’s 3-foot bushes and went down that. That was my annual expectations when the snow fell, and I loved every second of it.
By the time I was in high school, a teammate shattered her foot while sledding so my dad did the whole “I am not telling you ‘no’ but I want you to choose ‘no’ because you could get hurt and risk your basketball career.” Since basketball was my passion (and I had already undergone an ACL surgery in eighth grade), that was enough “no” for me.
In recent years, my babies were too young to take out there. I was not about to risk taking a 2 year old or under out in that weather. Plus, I’ll be honest, I hate being cold! And Paul never mentioned his desire to go, so I just left it at that.
But then at work, everyone kept talking about taking their kids sledding. Ignorantly, I shook it off — nope, sledding doesn’t even sound like fun. But, as more and more people were talking about it, I grew more and more curious.
You know, my kiddos are 5 and 3 now. Maybe, just maybe, this is something we should try out. All it took was one request to Paul (the hater of winter) and he was on board . It was then that I knew that this must really be fun.
It did not disappoint.
You know that freeing feeling you have as a child, one that you don’t even know you are experiencing until you get older and realize how little worries you had before? Yes, that is what sledding is like.
Conquering the climbing of the hill, one slippery unstable step at a time, made me feel like I could take on anything. Once I reached the top, I took a second to look around and admire the scenery (OK, and probably to catch my breath as well).
It was almost as if I could see the wind bounce off the top of the reservoir like it was cheering me on for my accomplishment of making it that far. And once I turned around, I felt it at my back luring me to take off down the hill.
With all the feelings of empowerment built up inside of me, Reagan and I loaded up in the sled and made our way down. While I would like to pretend that the first ride down was the gateway to doing it again, it was not. In fact, it was a learning ride. And let’s just say that Reagan would neither go all the way to the top again or ride with me the rest of the day.
Who knew there was some skill to sledding? Surely this rookie had no idea! We reached the bottom with snow-filled faces and I feared that she would be done. Although I had warned Maylie to cover her face as they came down after us, Paul’s beard still resembled Santa Claus when they reached the bottom.
It was a little too much for a first ride down, but we compromised with only going about a half of the way up from then on out. And once we all got the hang of it, we were unstoppable! In fact, the girls kept wanting to go by themselves (especially 3 year old Reagan). They went sitting up, laying down, even face first. And I just kept asking if I could ride down with them. I couldn’t get enough.
Eventually, I won Maylie over and we kept creeping higher and higher until we were back at the top. With the encouragement from wind again, and Maylie turned facing me, we totally rocked a full ride down. It was complete surrender of control with a side of guidance. It was fearless and fulfilling — and complete bliss. Truly, I haven’t laughed so hard — giddy like a child — in so long. It was so needed.
Surprisingly, the cold never got to me. Actually, most of the time we were sweating from the sufficient layers and climbing the hill. The anxiety of an injury that held me back as a kid never even crossed my mind.
I escaped into the enormous envelope of nature, forgot about work, dishes, laundry, finances, attitudes, clutter and tantrums and allowed myself to fully embrace the fun in a first-time experience — both for my girls and me.
I certainly had no idea that going sledding could have that effect. But one thing is for sure, I will be doing it again soon.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.