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Sledding Perils

Lainey slides out of bounds.

My daughter Lainey is five years old and I love her. We recently went at .

The snow fell hard and the Volkswagon barely ascended the slippery hills. I parked, grabbed the sleds and we marched to the park’s peak.

“This is steep!” Lainey hesitated.

“Come on, kid,” I scoffed. “You just . This is nothing!”

Lainey’s friend, Diane, and her dad, Bob, had joined us. Diane didn’t hesitate.

“Let’s go, Lainey!” she yelled.

They jumped on Diane’s blue sled.

“If you might hit something,” Bob advised,  “jump off the sled!”

“Okay,” the girls chimed and I pushed them downhill. Bob and I watched the girls accelerate and veer directly toward a metal trashcan. Before I could yell eject, the girls jumped off their sled and landed happily in the snow.

“Not bad,” I smiled.

“They actually took advice!” Bob joked.

“Good job!” I yelled to the girls.

“I want to ride with you now,” Lainey asked me when she made it back uphill.

“All right!” I smiled.

We boarded a sled and I pushed us along. Our ride curved toward a swing set but we split its frame like a perfect field goal.

“That was fun!” I laughed.

Yes, a trashcan and a swing set. By now, I definitely should have heeded the dangers. But did I change the sledding route? No. A fatherhood moment when idiocy inexplicably prevails.

“Let’s go again!” Diane cheered.

She and Lainey boarded a sled and shot downhill directly toward a picnic table.

“Uh oh,” I gasped.

“They’ll jump off,” Bob hoped. But they didn’t.

“Jump off the sled!” he screamed.

“Jump off!” I echoed.

Diane rode in front. Her head struck the bench seat first, and then Lainey.

“Oh God,” Bob muttered.

We sprinted down the hill.  Diane cried but Lainey hadn’t moved or made a sound.  I prayed she was okay. I cursed my stupidity.

“Lainey?” I inspected her head, and lifted her into my arms.

Lainey sensed my terror and cried, but she was spotless. A childhood moment when injury is inexplicably avoided.

I glanced around in shame, and noticed several families sledding down a safer hill on the other side of the park.

“Guess we’re supposed to be over there.” I said.

Bob sighed in relief and quipped, “There goes father of the year award.”

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