We stood at the top of the hill, two sleds gripped by two parents, two children puffy in snow pants. One grandparent stood waiting at the bottom, waiting to capture with video and capture with arms. The other stood at the top, helping position. The sky was that familiar shade of gray that blankets a Midwestern sky from about December to March. The ground was barely dusted with snow, a few stubborn dandelions still peeking through, not the typical snowy scene you might expect for a morning sledding adventure. But it was enough, we said. We're sledding today.
He went first, seated on his dad's lap, eyes wide, not with fear but with curiousity, that look we see so much in the first years of a toddler's life when so much is new and fascinating. With a hefty shove, they were off, bouncing down the hill on an inner tube that hasn't seen a sledding hill in years, not since there were adventurous little boys that filled the home. Squeals of delight echoed across the empty field. Then "again! Again!"
It was her turn next, my cautious one, the one with many questions, the one just like me. But she wasn't scared, in fact she asked to go alone. I wasn't ready for that. So together we shoved off ourselves, slow at first, as I dragged my feet, afraid of taking off too fast. I held on tight, telling myself it was to keep her safe but in fact it was clear I was the nervous rider here. Again echos of glee followed us down the hill, both mom and daughter, unable to contain our excitement as we slid faster down the hill. I picked up my feet and we gathered speed, spinning around, unable to even see where we were headed or where we would stop. As the hill turned to field and our ride came to a slow stop, she leaned back on me and we both paused for a second.
"That. Was. Fun."
Indeed it was. The kind of fun that you really only register at the final end of its life, when you realize you're safe. The kind of fun that makes you want to repeat again and again. The kind of fun that leaves you grinning with knowing smiles with the ones you love experiencing it all together. The kind of fun that brings the happy kind of exhaustion for the rest of the day, anticipating when you get to do it again.
I like to think we live life like that. I like to think that as I sit down to look back at the year 2016 that I'm not thinking of the moments at the top of the hill when I was hesitant, or the moments in the middle of the hill when I was scared, but instead I'm focusing on the moments when I squealed with glee, the ones that make me smile, the ones where I'm surrounded in front of and behind, under and on top of the ones I love.
Tonight, as we say goodbye and say hello, I'm remembering the birthdays celebrated, the friends hugged, the giggles shared, the finish lines crossed, the games won, and the lessons learned. And I'm thinking in anticipation of all that and more we get to share in the years to come.
So with gratitude and joy, like the race down a snowy hillside, I'm looking back on this year and saying "That. Was. Fun. Let's do it again!"
Happy New Year from my family to yours!