The highlight of my day yesterday was when my kids thanked me for taking them sledding.
My family awoke yesterday morning to find that snow had fallen. As we looked out our windows at the newly white hills of Western Massachusetts, my wife informed us that there would be no school due to the snow. Both my wife and I worked from home yesterday, while our kids frolicked in the snow. We have a “no screens rule” during the week. But on special occasions, like snow days, the rule morphs into a loose guideline. So after about an hour outside, it was all Pokemon Go and Thomas the Train.
Soon the “asks” started. Knock, knock, went the door to my home office. “Dad, can you take us skiing?” Said my 11-year-old son. “No,” I responded. “Berkshire East is closed today,” I added feeling absolved of any guilt. About an hour later, “Daddy, can you take us sledding at Hospital Hill?” It was a joint request from my 9 and 6-year-old daughters. “Sorry, girls. I have so much work to do. I’ll never get it done if I leave now.” I was finally taking some responsibility for not being a fun dad.
At about 3:25 pm, I was just starting to feel that I might get my mandatory To-Do list under control in a few more hours. Then something clicked. “My goodness! When I’m 90-years-old, I’m not going to say to myself, ‘I am so glad I worked during that snow day.'” Twenty minutes of frenzied activity followed. We found gloves, hats, jackets and snow pants. I even found a hat of the correct color for our fussy child (every family seems to have one). We threw a few sleds into the back of our minivan. Soon kids were frantically buckling their seat belts. From the corner of my eye, I could see that I was getting That Look from my wife. It was a look that said, “It’s already getting dark. Why do this now? Something will go wrong.” I began to think she was right, as usual. But it was too late to turn back. We were already half driving, half sliding down the long steep slope of our partially-shoveled driveway. We were going sledding, dammit!
It was getting dark by the time we arrived at Hospital Hill. But as luck had it, the night sky was clear and lit by a nearly full moon. It wasn’t too cold. There were no big complaints, fights or meltdowns. There were, however, many hoots of delight as we careened down the moonlit hill on our sleds, most of the time linked together as a human chain.
As we began the return trip home, our 11-year-old son said, “Thanks, dad. Thanks, mom.” Our daughters repeated the chant. Then our 2-year-old son chimed in, “Tink you.” I smiled and thought, “Nope. I’m the one who should be thankful.”
If I remember anything when I’m 90-years-old, I’ll remember yesterday.