Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

It snowed this weekend. Not a lot by our standards, but it was enough to make it wintery. So wintery in fact that my partner slid off the road on the way to meet some friends last night and had to be rescued by a wrecker which promptly charged her $100. This was somewhat annoying as the cop who stopped to help her actually called it, and she did in fact have AAA but was too distraught to call them, so she was pretty shook up. It didn’t set up the rest of the weekend well.

I love Sundays. I love them even more when there is nothing especially planned, and the day can unfold itself according to whatever wisps of need and desire arise and fight their way to the surface. Today was one of those. It was my weekend with my daughter, so she woke early – about 6 – and got me up to make breakfast. It snowed again in the night, not much – about 3″ – but enough to make it white over for the first time this year in the valley and make that transformation from nice backyard to winter wonderland. Seeing the look of excitement on her face as she realized what lay outside and what she was going to do with it was one of those moments which bring a tear to a cynical wizened eye. It makes me want to get up and make everything happen for her so she can have that amazing experience I know she will remember and take with her into adulthood long after I’m gone. I know it will because I have similar memories from days with my father taking me sledding in my home town so long ago. If she has her version of those memories, I can die a happy man.

The breakfast routine was unremarkable, but the flurry of padded clothing being thrown on while the last fragments of bacon were being masticated most definitely was. She was a force of nature pulling on al that winter clothing, preparing to head out and get all up close and personal with the freezing fluffy stuff. I giggled openly as she dove into the snow, flipped over and started scraping the first of many snow angels into the back yard.

After the initial burst of craziness, I gave her a snow shovel and she actually shoveled the deck! I got pictures! And posted them on Facebook! That was also a wonderful moment. I think this was the first moment she had actually done a work activity without being prompted. After eight years of just one way support, the pivot point is reached! Work starts flowing the other way! Oh deep joy!

Weekend days tend to be a combination of time to herself and activities with me. Yesterday we went to Stowe for the opening day of that wonderful mountain. I had no clue that with deals Stowe would be actually cheaper then Sugarbush on opening day, but that’s exactly what happened. We spent hours up there getting our ski legs back, or in my case trying desperately to not stress the foot and ankle injury I’ve been recovering from for the last three months. The air cast I’ve been wearing to support it has about as much support as a snowboard boot, so I figured it would be a wash and shouldn’t give any problems. Oh boy how wrong I was. The pain was so bad on the last run I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it down and actually contemplated calling the ski patrol to take the sled of shame down the hill. Luckily it didn’t get to that point, but it shook me greatly to be in that position.

So today after the snow in the valley overnight, it was time for the yearly first weekend sledding ritual to happen. We live close to a well known sledding hill in the next town over, so after a few hours of hanging out watching TV (catching up on Marvel movies for me, Buddy movies for her) we ventured out to make more memories. This hill is short but fun with a long run out making it perfect for family sledding days. It’s rare to go there with no munchkins zipping down the hill, but that’s exactly what happened when we got there. Our few runs were short lived though as family after family arrived, and soon we were laughing with tons of kids, Zoe making new friends and borrowing other’s sleds as fast as she could convince them. It was incredibly cold though – with a biting wind, so I cooled off very quickly and despite my winter layers, managed to freeze up quite effectively.

Returning home we fell into the same self entertainment patterns as the morning and before we knew it it was time to get the evening meal and bath time routines going. Cranking up this machine to tap out a blog post, I got to thinking how wonderful and rare a lazy day is at this stage of life. I am truly thankful for them, and look forward to them immensely. They recharge the batteries and set up the work week to come. Can’t wait for the next few weeks!

Don’t be afraid of the dark

My 8 year old daughter lives with me 50% of the time. Her mom and I share all her expenses, and decisions in her life. It’s a typical modern arrangement and it works. Mainly. Of course, the stability we’ve engineered isn’t perceived nearly so favorably in the mind of an 8 year old, but we as the adults know it’s the best thing for her right now.

She suffers from night terrors, and growing pains, and a myriad of other symptoms of real and imaginary maladies most nights. I’ve spent many many hours sat on the end of her bed just being a presence there so she can feel safe and finally drift off to sleep. It’s lucky that my own sleep requirements are lessened with age, but I sure do know at least one reason why people generally have kids in their 20s and 30s. The energy required is colossal and it’s a real challenge to muster it up most of the time. But we do. I know her mom has similar issues. We choose different ways to deal, but both have our daughters best interests front and center.

I’m sat at the end of her bed right now, having comforted her through some recurring headaches she insists have been going on for a few days. I’ve done everything I know how to – taken temperature (97.2F), administered children’s Advil and reassured for hours, and she’s finally managed to get to sleep. It’s restless though, so I don’t know how long this is going to last.

This all got me thinking – what is it about the dark that puts the fear of God into us? It is after all just the absence of light. The physical environment doesn’t change, except for the lack of photons doing their merry dance on everything. The dark represents the unknown, and what might be lurking in there to do us harm. It’s the mind, in other words that constructs all manner of ghoulies and beasties to be scared of. They’re no less real to an 8 year old though. Her terror is real, and her need for reassurance is real, so here I sit. In the dark. Tap tap tapping away on the keys trying not to think of what made that noise. Oh great. Now I’ll never get to sleep.