You Promised, Mom!
by Kimberly J. Garrow
I’m the kind of girl who loves winter — inside a toasty-warm house, wrapped in a soft, fluffy blanket, sipping steaming, hot cappuccino. I admit I’m not much of a daredevil; however, I did give birth six times without an epidural! But one winter’s day I surprised everyone in my family, including me.
My husband announced on this wintry Sunday that we were going to the grandparents’ house for lunch and that he would pull the kids on their sleds with the tractor. My children rejoiced in their father’s good name as I collected all of the snow attire. I then made the mistake of asking if anyone knew the location of my snow pants. That’s when a rumor started like wildfire: MOM IS GOING SLEDDING!
The kids were now chanting my name and sharing their visions of how Daddy was going to knock Mommy off the sled … gulp. I put on my long underwear and contemplated what I had done. I shivered — and we weren’t even outside yet. Double gulp.
On our drive, I tried to strategically add the word maybe into the conversations that included mom and sledding together. The kids cried out, “YOU PROMISED!” My fate was sealed because there is nothing stronger than mommy’s guilt.
It was time. I dressed in as many layers as I could pile on and then waddled out into the bitter cold wind. I prayed the blast of air didn’t knock me over as I envisioned myself looking like a frozen turtle on my back, surrounded by my family members, perhaps being poked with sticks by my children as I lay there helpless. Or, at the very least, I was sure I would be hysterically laughed at and probably photographed so we could re-live the moment repeatedly. I somehow managed to plop down onto the cold, hard, plastic sled. Then my husband took a souvenir picture to commemorate this event.
I held on for dear life as the sled rocked and bumped, flying over mounds of snow! My eyes stung and I could feel icicles forming on my lashes. Every part of me was frozen and hurting as the snow whipped into my face. Amazingly, above the sound of the fierce, whistling wind, I could hear my children’s laughter and their happy voices coaxing their father to go faster! Are they crazy? I smiled and laughed all the same. The wintry trek seemed to be never-ending, but at last my husband finished circling the vast snow-covered land. I secretly rejoiced when I saw the farmhouse in the distance.
As my husband pulled up into the drive and I prepared to pry my frozen body from the toboggan, he called out, “Do you want to go around again?” My children cheered and then they turned to me with pleading voices, “Mom, will you do it again?” I don’t know what came over me, but I gave a “thumbs up” signal. I’m sure that was my only appendage not petrified by the cold. I don’t know who was more shocked by my response, my kids, my husband or me. Or who was more surprisingly pleased by my answer.
Kimberly J. Garrow is the mother of six children and the author of A Mother’s Journey: Through Laughter and Tears, kimgarrow.webs.com. She‘s also a humorist, inspirational writer and speaker.