An offer I’m so glad I didn’t refuse.
Because human beings? Especially the sledding variety? ARE CRAZY.
CRAZY I TELL YOU.
We found an even longer and more popular sledding hill at the end of Holly Street, and had it not been for the steering capacity (however scant) of our newly acquired Flexible Flyer, we would have been done in one run.
I don’t know if it was the number of young people sledding or the added length of the hill or the nervous ninny pills I popped before breakfast or just a general coming to my senses, but it dawned on me yesterday that WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE ON THIS HILL. Suddenly it seemed insane to me to let a child go down the hill on a sled alone. Patrick had sailed down by himself the day before on a raft. But on this day? No way. We would all ride the flexible flyer together AND I WOULD STEER.
Because people were fuh-lying.
Little people. Big people. Tall people. Old people. Young people standing up on boogie boards attempting to reenact scenes from Blue Crush. Flying.
And while I’m all in favor of multi-generational sledding, I feel we have a responsibility to look out for the little ones WHETHER WE LIKE THEM OR NOT. In other words, the fact that you don’t want to have kids is no excuse to RUN OVER MINE WITH YOUR SLED. Mkay?
I’ll admit, I am a cautious individual. And when I’m coming down the hill and I see a child who may or may not wind up in my path, I will dig my heels in and try to slow down. If I can’t slow down? And I think I’m going to hit the kid? I will throw myself off the sled in a Cosmo Kramerish attempt to avoid doing so. What I won’t do is lie back to make my sled go even faster while screaming at the three year old in my path to WATCH OUT!
Three-year-olds are not known for their quick reaction times. They are known for stealing animal crackers out of the cookie drawer when you tell them NO MORE COOKIES and then retorting, “It’s not a cookie, it’s a CRACKER.”
So we’d just completed a run, and I was trying to herd the kids over to the side of the hill, and Patrick saw this young woman screaming toward him and did absolutely nothing to move out of her way, and I somehow managed to snatch him out of her path at the exact secondher sled was due to make contact with his body.
My heart. Is now filing for disability leave.
Two people saw it happen. One shouted, “Good thing you were there, Mom.”
But it was one of those moments you can’t explain to the people who didn’t see it (though I’ve just taken up your entire lunch hour trying! Have a sip of soda! Cheers!). Do you know those moments? Those near-miss moments you describe to people and they’re all, “Ha ha wow!” And you’re all, “Not ‘ha ha wow!’ Not ‘ha ha wow’, more like "MY SON WAS ALMOST MADE LUNCH MEAT BEFORE MY EYES AND YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME! PLEASE BELIEVE ME!"
All night long I kept waking up to a mental replay of that moment. Snatching Patrick out of the way of that woman’s sled, over and over and over again.
And the man saying, “Good thing you were there.”