Mud Sledding

It finally happened. It snowed! Nice big fluffy flakes covering the ground with the illusion of depth every last one of us is hoping for. Will there be snowmen, snow forts and sledding in our near future? This snow will hold. We were all so sure of it. This is the snow that sets the stage for all our winter aspirations. We are Hoosiers, if the snow comes you better act fast because A) it may never snow again; B) it may snow so much it traps your home and make it hard to get out or at the very least travel to a good sledding hill; C) it will rain then freeze and continue to do so until the seasons change and, alas, said snow adventure hopes are still squashed. Most likely, D) All of the above. The culmination of potential options led the kids to a pretty decisive decision today, they were going sledding.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Yes, we told them the snow was already thin and melting fast so sledding may be tricky. We offered up options like a good snow hike or some disc golf in our snowsuits…it could be fun! They wanted none of it. They wanted sledding. (Insert learning opportunity.) Let’s just suit up and let them figure out the challenges for themselves. After-all, once they try (unsuccessfully) sledding down the grass slope they are sure to pack up the sled and give us a dough-eyed “you were right, parents.” Of course they will…

The park was odd, as always. Grand patriotic entryway, super tiny playground, large man-made weed covered hill and a handful of random cars taking breaks, naps, who knows… no other kids in sight. It’s not my style to stay in the car when adventure awaits. But this trip was sure to be short…and the kids were driving us bonkers. We were in serious need of “expansion” (thanks Denaye!) so we stayed behind. The kiddos grabbed their dollar store sleds with the strand of parachute rope tied to the front for easy dragging. Already laughing at the image of their snowpant covered rumps stuck on the top of the hill painfully scooching their way to the bottom of the hill just to prove us wrong. Or, so we thought…

The little guy never even attempted to climb the cleared area of the hill. He headed straight for the side covered in the impossible to kill winter weeds up to his eyeballs. About halfway up the hill, he cut right and found a small path that looked like another kid may have attempted the sled route before. You know, like last year – or the year before. It was barely visible. He settled his blue disk squarely between the tracks and it fit just so. Our car banter had gone silent as we watched our little buddy push off and coast quickly down the wet, sloppy mud that no parent would have noticed as the path of choice. Not even this one – and I pride myself on noticing these things.

We couldn’t hear the exchange that happened next. But we were pretty sure the little guy was hollering over the hill at the big guy that he had found “the” spot. The one and only on the snow-free over grown not-so-sled worthy sledding hill. The big one goes all the way to the tippy top of the “kind of” mud path and gives himself a push. The rest is history. Mud climbing. Mud sliding. Mud sledding. Wrestling. Racing. Laughing. Playing. Not for 5 minutes. Not for 1 – 4 runs, the bet the Hairy One and I had placed before the kids hit the “slope.” For a solid 45 minutes…perhaps longer. It felt like forever. (Remember how we opted for just sitting in the car.) The boys figured it out. They didn’t need us to tell them what could or could not work. They didn’t need to follow the parental rules of sledding and playing. They needed a chance. And, they needed a ride. The two of us, we needed a minute of peace and to keep our eyes open.

The four of us left that hill with a healthy dose of wow. Life is awesome and abundant. The kids were already tuned in. (Insert learning opportunity…for the parents.) You were right, kids… Thanks for being patient with us. Treasures await us outside no matter the weather. It’s the unexpectedness that makes nature the best toy box.

It’s a wondrous thing how the wild calms a child.


Published by dirtonkids

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