I was thinking of the snowy December eves when the children were small and their dad and I took them sledding and drove around to see the Christmas lights on all the houses. It was a joyous occasion, a fond family memory.
I'd give each child a couple of plastic Wonder bread bags and instruct them to put them over their double-socked little feet, and slip them into their waterproof boots, which never were. Bundled up like the Michelin Man, barely able to snap their seat belts, they oohed and ahhed at the lights and discussed which hill they wanted to sled down when we arrived at Carondelet Park.
Usually we selected the busiest one where families congregated. But one year, we decided to try somewhere less crowded, but just as steep. I plopped down on the new sled, a real Radio Flyer, and wrapped my legs around my five year old son. With one shove we were off and zooming, free, soaring faster and faster, and then we went airborne! When the sled struck a concrete ledge, Jason yelled, "YEEHAW!" and I screamed, "Oh no!" He went one way, and I flew off the other side, both of us landing in soft snow. The runners bent on the sled, our egos were bruised, and before the sledding began, it was over!
Later, at home, their dad tried to straighten the runners, but that sled was never the same. For years, we zoomed down slopes and zipped back up hills towing that sled by the ropes. I had such energy then and such enthusiasm for winter.
On those sledding, light-viewing nights we always ended up squeezed into a booth at White Castle, munching burgers and fries and sipping hot chocolate. Such are some of the memories that I hold dear at this time of year.