There’s a high school not far from where I live. In the winter, they clear the parking lot and push all the snow off to the side, making a huge mountain. It reminds me of the huge mountain I used to play ‘King or Queen of the Mountain’ on, with my brothers and sister. To me, it looked like it was at least 15 meters high and as I grew older I always wondered what had happened to the ginormous snow banks of my youth. Why are snowbanks so small now? Is it snowing less? Is it global warming? Do the snowbanks just look smaller because I’m taller? It’s probably a mix of all those things but I realize now that our ‘King of the Mountain’ hill, was probably in the parking lot of a nearby restaurant, where they had pushed all the snow to the side. Regardless of size, great fun was had on that mountain of my youth. As you can imagine, I was delighted when I found the hill at the high school, knowing that my kids would be able to create their own magical memories.
The last time we went to the school, some other kids had dug out a cave and carved some really nice steps all over the hill; it was beautiful. I played with my two monsters for a little while; we slid down the steep side of the mountain on our bums, and used the sled on the other side. It’s not really a sledding hill; the drop is short and steep, but that’s what makes it fun. After a few rides down the different slopes, we played ‘mommy is Queen of the Mountain.’ I straddled one of the peaks and then let the kids come at me with all they had. Once they got close enough I would grab them and then fling them down the hill (anyone who knows me, knows that they were flung down in a most controlled way, with minimal risk of injury). The boy thought it was hilarious but my 6-year-old daughter was becoming exceedingly frustrated with being a dirty rascal with little or no prospect of ever becoming the Queen. Time for a new game.
That’s when “T” suggested we defend the mountain against the zombie armies marching on us. This game involves blasting the zombies with snowballs and snow boulders. Ugh, really? You want ME to pretend there are zombies, and then I have to run and throw snowballs at invisible, non-existent targets. Sigh. I don’t know when it happens, but it does happen. There is a moment in time when you lose the ability to enjoy playing make-believe. That to me is one of the saddest things ever. What to do though? I’m the one who wants them to play outside and I certainly do not want to be the one to ruin make-believe for them …So I used their make-believe against them. Evil, you say? No, resourceful I say.
I found the perfect chunk of snow, placed it on the sled and used it to prop my head up. Once I was in a comfortable position, I yelled feebly; “Help me, Help meee! I am your fearless leader and I have been injured. Save me from the zombies! You must pull me to safety on the sled.” Lo and behold my children came to my rescue. They pulled me two meters and then left me by the side of the mountain. Pfft. Two measly meters. “No, wait children, come back! You must pull me around that block of ice. I am not safe here.” They pulled me around in a big circle, complaining about my weight the whole time. The ride made me giddy and slightly nauseous. I get motion sickness rather easily when rotations are involved. In a barely audible moan I thanked them for pulling me to safety; “thank you children, I am safe now. I must rest. My injuries will heal. Go forth and defend the hill!” But then, I got cold, as tends to happen if you don’t move around in frigid weather. Time to go home. So in my most concerned, fearless leader voice, I yelled: “Children, retreat! Retreat! The zombies are too many. There is no hope. Let us go and drink warm cocoa and-” I had them at warm cocoa. Finally I was coming in from the cold, and they were coming in with their childhood intact. All’s well that ends well.