The Parent Trip

By Shelby Cain


With snow on the ground, my kids are obsessed with sledding.  It’s all they want to do.  We bought the cheap sleds last year and both broke right where the string is attached.  Which of course led to Two rocketing down from the steepest part of an icy slope backwards.  Not good.

So this year we upgraded to thicker plastic and brakes. I thought this was a good idea. It wasn’t.

We have a hill close to our house that is the perfect length and pitch for the kids.  Still a bit of a thrill, but I don’t fear for their lives every time I let them go.  By the time we get to the base of the hill Two is already tired and needs a ride. I watch enviously as some older kids run up the hill carrying their sleds, jump on at the top and shoot to the bottom.  Their parents stand in a group, chatting and joking.  We are not there.  Yet.

I start pulling Two up on her sled while my husband coaches Four.  Halfway up my quads are burning and I taste blood.  How can I be this out of shape?

I check to see if Two has sprouted into twins, just in time to see her pulling on the brakes with all her might.  With slight panic in my voice I explain to Two that Mommy can NOT pull her with the brakes on.  A few reminders later, and we reach the summit.  I lean over and breathe deeply, trying not to take a knee, while smiling pleasantly at the parent group standing around doing NOTHING.

Four decides she wants to go by herself and my husband sends her flying down the hill and then joins the gang, all gearing up to watch me, because they know I won’t get off so easy.  I’ll show them.  I hop on the sled and scrunch Two between my legs. The old rush comes back.  Wahoo!  This is going to be awesome.

We take off and pick up speed.  The little ridges that all the kids had been sailing over send us airborne.  I feel like I am being spanked with a paddle.  Hard.  My ribs are jabbing into my pelvis, which I didn’t know was possible, and I bit my tongue during my Wahoo.

As we come to the slightly less-steep part of the run where I think the violent spanking might stop, Two pulls the break.  Singular.  We jackknife and fly through the air.  I torque my body and get underneath her as we land in a pile.  She’s crying.  I want to, but pretend I’m ok.  I’m old.  Sledding is not for old people.


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