The Dangers of Family Bonding
Field trips in the winter months can be near-death experiences. Maybe that’s only in my family, I don’t know, but perhaps you can relate to some of our winter fun episodes. Of course, some of these took place in the state of Wyoming, where – as the residents like to say – we have four full seasons,
So, naturally, all of our field trips were winter field trips. Here are a couple memories to warm the cockles of your heart, make you chuckle, give you ideas, and basically, teach you what not to do…
Sledding is our favorite winter activity. Mainly because we like to laugh in the face of danger, defy gravity, and experiment with frost bite (which is very educational, after all). My parents, up until recently, lived in the mountains. Their driveway was what city folks would call a terrifying goat path to nowhere, and what they lovingly referred to as a nice walk to stretch your legs and check the mail. Catapulting down this driveway on a frail piece of plastic one year, trying to teach my whippersnappers to sled, I saw my life pass before my eyes. It was not nearly long enough. My life, I mean, not the sled ride. The sled ride went on for what seemed like weeks, with trees knocking me senseless, a face full of snow spray, and a blur that was probably a nice view if I could have slowed it down to less than 95 mph. The kids stared in silent wonder at the top of the hill, and debated the merits of being orphans: would they be served only gruel at the local orphanage, would they have adventures of the storybook kind, would they be adopted by a rich, bald man and get that dog they always wanted, could they finally eliminate veggies from dinner once and for all? I landed with a flip that would have made Olympic judges applaud in stunned admiration, and lay in the snow for a bit, recovering and gingerly testing for broken bones. I had made it down to the highway.
“Beat that, chickens!”, I yelled to the top of the hill, but unfortunately, my audience had gone into Gramma’s house for hot cocoa and to plan their strategy for world domination now that I had apparently gone to my eternal reward. Seriously. It’s like my kids have no loyalty at all. Hot cocoa indeed. I was going to give them a talking to; in about eight weeks when I stumbled all the way back up that driveway. Why couldn’t they have installed a ski lift is beyond me?
Excellent field trip! I recommend it highly. The lodges have the best desserts, roaring fires, and you can wear your argyle socks and fit right in!
Oh, you mean actually going skiing? Yeah. I don’t ski.
I don’t go flying down mountainsides; it’s dangerous!
These are only fun if your youngsters are not between the ages of 0-20. If they’re in that range, you will have to cope with whining, disappearing munchkins in snow drifts, hunger pains, cold toes, and lost mittens. From experience, I can tell you, if you hope to make this one even sorta enjoyable, don’t squeeze anyone’s toes into last year’s boots, feed the natives first, make potty time mandatory (and before you put on eleventy-seven layers of fleece), and be prepared to hear a lot of complaints, starting with thirst, hunger, bladders, exhaustion, and moving into territories like religion, politics, weather, and the economy.
There have been years when our Middler especially (the one who, if you gave her a million dollars would sigh and say, what am I supposed to do with all these ones?) trudged behind the rest of us, like a pigtailed gnome, loudly proclaiming the unfairness of life and the lack of proper My Little Pony snowboots. In pink, not green. And why was there cheese in her sandwich? And why can’t someone carry her? And why did we make it so cold? And did she mention how unfair this whole thing was? We debated leaving her behind for the mountain lions, but truthfully, the mountain lions had done nothing to us and we didn’t think it was fair to them.
SNOWBALL FIGHTS AND SNOWMEN AND FORTS
It never fails that in my family, the kids start out with this idea, but it’s the ever-so mature adults who finish them. I can get really involved in snowmen making and not come up for air until March (that’s Still Winter in Wyoming). I usually give my kids a head start in the snowball making, and then I go all out. Tough love, that’s what I say. All’s fair in love and snowballs, I say that too. And our personal family creed: If you’re going to be stupid, you’d better be tough. I should probably embroider my parenting quotes on pillows and sell them on Etsy, huh? Can I put you down for a boxed set? Free shipping? No?
Whatever field trips and family outings you come up, share them with me! I’m always looking for a way to annoy my family, break something, look in the face of danger and laugh make memories.