Do you know what makes me so happy?
Now don’t get me wrong; little girls are precious and darling, and I adore my nieces and every little girl I encounter with a heart full of love. But… there’s just something special about watching little boys play. They have no desire to sit politely for a tea party with their stuffed animals, or to quietly labor over getting Barbie dressed in her blue-sequined evening gown and miniature, high heeled shoes for that black-tie fundraiser event with Ken. Instead, little boys wrestle one another to the ground, every time they meet up with a friend. Every stick becomes a weapon, and they must smack each other with it. Their pockets are always full of rocks and candy wrappers and wads of dryer lint that they’ve collected and tiny Lego bricks. They talk with their mouths full, they can’t walk past a ball without kicking it to some random place, far away, and their fingernails are perpetually caked with dirt.
And then there’s the sledding.
Only little boys can turn sledding into a full-contact sporting event, complete with jumps and pile-drivers and dog piles and snowball fights.
One Saturday in January, when the sun was shining brightly and the weather was fairly balmy, and when we were all going stir-crazy from too many consecutive days spent indoors, my friend, Sarah, and I took our children sledding.
Sarah has Grace, who is the loveliest little girl you’ll ever encounter. She’s sweet and kind and gentle; Grace never sees a need to deliberately crash her sled and topple it over a friend’s head. Sarah also has a set of twin boys. Sam and Henry are nine. They’re rough and tough and covered in scabs; they’ll triple dog dare anyone to race a sled down a mountain and take the biggest jump in the middle of the hill.
It’s why Thing 2 likes them so well. They live his love language, as everything Sam and Henry and Thing 2 do is fast and dangerous.
While Sarah and I chatted and watched our boys sled together, we made no fewer than twenty-nine comments about how THIS COULD BE THE RUN THAT ENDS WITH A BROKEN ARM. And yet… we grit our teeth together, covered our eyes, and let those three boys catapult their sleds down the side of the hill however they chose to go. And then we laughed our own heads off, at all the loud, belly-grabbing, side-splitting laughter that was erupting in explosions from those kiddos.
It was one of the best afternoons we’ve had this winter.
(And yes. The boy was gone, because the boy is fifteen. He had gone to a movie with a friend, so he missed our sledding adventure.)
Thing 2 and I were at the hill for a little while by ourselves, before Sarah and her gang arrived, so he did some solo sledding. Even solo sledding, with a boy, is rough and dangerous.
The facial expressions make me SO INCREDIBLY happy!
We refer to it as his ENERGY CONSERVATION PROGRAM.
Gracie rode her sled down the hill loads of times, too. She kept a safe distance between herself and the boys, because she wasn’t going to risk a collision of any kind. Getting through the afternoon without a concussion saves on the amount of curse words you need to fire off, and Grace knows this. She simply sleds with a ladylike finesse and raises her eyebrows at the boys’ wild antics.
Sadly, the caboose was lost repeatedly. In fact, the caboose usually spiraled out of control and ended up in a major derailment, with snow in his face.
And then we had a marvelous time, talking to Grace and applauding her desire to follow OSHA’s strict suggestions for Sledding Safety.
Isn’t she just THE VERY CUTEST thing?! Grace is filled with everything that’s good and kind and gentle.
… there are these three adventure-seeking, thrill-finding yay-whos.
By the time the sun was sinking behind the mountains and the temperatures were starting to fall again, Thing 2’s sweatshirt was soaked. It was SO SOAKED, in fact, that I literally had to wring water out of it, when I peeled it off of him.
He hadn’t even noticed that he was wearing a sweatshirt that looked like he’d jumped into a lake, because his fun couldn’t be interrupted with thoughts on sopping wet apparel.
After four hundred thousand trips up and down the hill with the sleds, Thing 2 came home and ate one of the biggest dinners of his life.
And then he slept for eleven and a half straight hours.
I wish wild sledding could happen every single day!