In a neon green, plastic sled, my kids and I teetered on the edge of a large hill. Each gave her last protest, and I carefully considered their words. Then I pushed off with the fury of a luger going for a gold medal.

In a neon green, plastic sled, my kids and I teetered on the edge of a large hill. Each gave her last protest, and I carefully considered their words. Then I pushed off with the fury of a luger going for a gold medal.

Earlier in the day, I declared the snow to be prime for sledding. "We'll be flying down mountains at lightning speed!"

My 3-year-old shook her head; a firm no.

"I'm exaggerating," I assured her. "I promise, you will love it."

"Will it be scary?" she asked.

"Yes, but only at first," I replied. The look on her face highlighted my poor salesmanship, but her sister talked her into it.

So, I dressed them in warm clothes: fuzzy socks, sweatshirts, snow pants, coats, hats, gloves and boots. Then, I took it all off so they could use the bathroom.

Several hours later, we were on the hunt for a good sledding hill. When one is choosing a sledding hill, I told them, one must look for two things: A snowy hill and a hole in the fence.

I asked if there were any questions. Oh, and they had questions. Would there be snacks? No. Does mom know you are forcing us to go sledding? Yes. If you love us so much, why would you make us do this? Because I love you, I want you to enjoy the finer things in life, like sledding.

Every time I looked at my 3-year-old in the rear-view mirror, she looked away and sulked. We drove around long enough it got really hot in the car, which did not help things. I told them that it would be worth it. This did not help, either.

We found a good hill and an old hole in the fence.

My oldest asked if we were allowed to enter. "Mom would not be happy if we go to jail," she warned. I agreed and nudged her up the hill. My little one stayed clear of the sleds and sulked her way up. 

At the top, we packed in and I pushed off. There's a fine difference between a scream of terror and a scream of joy, and about a third of the way down you could hear a clear change. My 3-year-old, so padded in winter clothes she needed help up, jumped her fists and declared sledding the official sport of her world.

"OK, you ready to go home?" I joked, but they didn't hear me because they were climbing back up the hill. Soon, they didn't want to go down the hill with me; I was slowing them down. Then they wanted a bigger hill. If we would have stayed longer they would be waxing their sleds and wearing form fitting suits to cut down on drag.

As we sat at the start of our last run, I told them how proud I was of them. "Doesn't it feel good to overcome a fear?" I asked.

My 5-year-old turned to me. "Are we talking here or are we sledding here?"

"Sledding!" her sister replied.

And off we went.

 

David Manley is an editor at The Canton Repository. Share your stories with him at david.manley@cantonrep.com. On Twitter: @DaveManley