Sledding with the kids

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, January 17 2017

It was the weekend before the kids went back to school that it happened. They’d been walking from our house over to the AGI Hall where they said there was a great hill covered in ice for sledding. I heard about this and found it hard to believe. I mean this is Gabriola. How much ice could there be? So they walked there and back to the house a few times, taking a few hours and getting some badly needed fresh air.

There were neighbourhood kids that went with them, and on the weekend their dad decided to make the trek too. I met up with them on Sunday and then I saw the ice. My first reaction, as a mom, was why aren’t you wearing helmets? I looked at the ice that really was a little toboggan run, stretching just from the lower parking lot to the fence below, feeling relieved that they couldn’t get into harm’s way. 

There were other children who’d come that day, in their snow pants, with different varieties of sleds and crazy carpets. My children were going head first and enjoying a little speed as they ran and jumped onto the crazy carpets, launching themselves down the hill. 

Friends who’d come had plastic sleighs with ropes and sizing one up I thought, I could get on that. Why don’t I? In past years, something like this would have come up and I would have made excuses as to why I couldn’t join in the fun. 

I might have said, “Oh, no, what about my back?” But on that day I sat on the sleigh and pushed off the ice, ready for a gentle ride. What I got made me think of a bobsled run. I took off, and as I went, I picked up speed until seeing the fence approaching far sooner than I thought, I grabbed my daughter’s leg, hoping it would slow me down. It did on that ride. What a joy! What elation! 

In university, I remember my residence friends and I would cross the canal and trudge in the snow up to the hill behind Dow’s Lake and on tray’s borrowed from the cafeteria we would launch ourselves down the run. It was such fun, and the hill was so long we could almost make it to the lake and come up just short of it. What fun winter was then! No driving, no children in snow pants, nothing to worry about but a fun night under the stars in winter.

So I have fallen in love with winter this month. I know it’s going to be over soon, and we’ll return to our rainy grey weather, but sledding with the kids reminded me of all I can do, and all I have done, if I just decide to try.

In the trying there is so much possibility. Yes, I did get my leg stuck in the fence on my third ride down the hill, and yes, it hurt because that was the only way to stop. But feeling the bruises on my calf now, there is a pride in saying “yes.” In not thinking I’m too old. In being a kid again.

This is the year to remember all the fun life has to offer. Both my kids will now remember their mom going sledding with them on the tiny hill at the AGI Hall. But even better, I will remember not being too busy, rather, just being open to the experience. 

Because when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing better than winter, even a little taste of it, to remind you why kids can play all day in the snow without a single complaint. 

Because it’s fun!