Monday, December 22, 2014

On a one horse open sleigh

You know those ideas that sound really good in theory but turn out to be a bit of a disaster?

That happened to me recently.

The plan was simple enough: take the kids on a festive, Christmas-y sleigh ride, complete with jingling bells, over-loud off-key caroling, marshmallow roasting and hot cocoa.  

I booked it weeks in advance, and I knew that my festive-y, Christmas-loving children were going to be absolutely delighted.  

But when the day came, it was snowing.  Reeeeeally snowing.  And absolutely freezing.  I called the ranch before we left to see if they were even running the sleigh rides, and they assured me that the weather wasn't too bad.  The did advise me to bring extra warm clothes, but that it would be okay.

So we packed up the car, every article of warm, winter clothing we own, and set off.  

I could feel in my bones that it was a bad idea practically as soon as we set off.  The drive took us almost an hour longer than it should have, and the van was slipping all over the road.  The snow was coming down pretty heavily, and when we had to stop so that the kids could go potty, it was 7 degrees outside with the wind howling. 

I think it was the kids' enthusiasm and excitement to go on a sleigh ride that kept us from turning around.

When we arrived at the ranch, it was slightly better.  It was a balmy 24, the wind wasn't whipping quite so badly, and we were promised lots of blankets for the ride.  I very seriously considered staying in the car with the baby, but decided to push on.

...A decision I very quickly regretted to my very core.

Thirty minutes later, the sleigh had only been able to go maybe 1,000 yards due to the high, windswept snow.  The baby was absolutely bawling - screaming her head off even though every in ch of her was wrapped up not only in her winter gear, but then inside a blanket and protected completely from the snow by a second blanket.  I was convinced she had hypothermia, because I am not at all overly dramatic.  When they could go no further (we were nowhere near our destination), we had to get off the sleigh so that the horses could turn it around to head back to the barn.  The snow was so high they couldn't pull it and us through it.  It was a complete nightmare.

Unless, of course, you asked my children.  Who, despite the ridiculous conditions, were absolutely as happy as they could possibly have been (well, except for the screaming one).

All they saw or cared about was the fact that they were  on a sleigh ride at Christmas time.  They didn't care about the freezing snow hitting their faces, or the fact that when we got out, the snow came up to Logan's waist.  They made snow angels and waited for the horses, shouting encouragements and calling them by name.  They were so excited and completely overjoyed.  In hindsight, I have no words to describe those two little joyful souls.

We went back to the barn to enjoy our hot cocoa, and I'm pretty sure my children had no idea that what they had just experienced was SO not the way it was supposed to go.  As far as they were concerned, it was perfect.

The lesson there is pretty clear, particularly at Christmas time.

Although I was extremely grateful to get back in the car, those two sweet, excited children made it a wonderful memory.

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