On Saturday, January 5th, YMCA Camp Lincoln hosted it’s annual Winterfest. I bundled both myself and my 15 month old daughter, Cora, up in warm snow clothes and headed to Kingston. I knew I was testing fate as we left around the time when Cora would typically nap, but I hoped she’d be distracted enough to last an hour or so. When we arrived, I plopped her in her sled and pulled her through the snowy parking lot and path to where others were congregating. There was a bonfire going and I recognized everyone’s face, which was comforting.
Soon after our arrival, some staff and children of the staff began to roll snow and make a giant snowman. Everyone worked together rolling the snowballs across the untouched blanket of snow. Sticks were gathered for arms and the broomstick and some pine needles became a mustache! Our snowman stood in all his glory in the bright sunlight as the children grew antsy to begin sledding. And so, soon after our arrival, we were walking toward the hill which leads down to the lake. We were informed the lake was frozen through and was safe for skating, which only added to the sledding fun as the hill spills into the lake. Saucers and sleds were set at the top of the hill and camp staff were maneuvering the snow on the hill to create a slippery (and safe!) slope.
As soon as the hill was ready both adults and children began climbing into sleds and traveling down the hill. Although I did not have snow pants on, I didn’t let that deter me from sitting on a saucer, plopping Cora on my lap, and speeding down the hill. I wasn’t sure how Cora would respond, and true to form, she loved every daring minute of it! At the base of the hill, I (sloppily) staggered off the sled and headed back up the hill carrying Cora… and let me tell you, a toddler gets awfully heavy when you’re walking up a hill! We continued in this fashion a few more times and even coasted down the hill with enough speed to make it out onto the ice – a feat which soon became the norm for everyone.
After what I thought was an acceptable amount of time sledding, I headed into the camp office with Cora. We ate grapes and Cora nibbled on a cookie while we warmed up. Families from the community were in and out of the office getting hot cocoa and popcorn. Cora waved to them with crumbs on her chubby fingers. I bundled her back up and headed out to say goodbye to everyone as I figured I had pushed Cora’s nap back far enough.
When we got outside, I became sidetracked in conversations with fellow YMCA staff and some parents from the community. Soon, the daughter of the gentleman I was speaking with, saw and heard Cora’s gestures of wanting to sled again, and was offering to take Cora sledding. I glanced at her Mom who gave me the affirmation I needed and then I tried to see if Cora would go to her willingly. She did. What happened over the next hour is nothing short of pretty amazing. Cora was shuffled among 3 different girls’ laps (all sisters) and held tight as they brought her sledding down the hill. Over and over. For an hour. And they carried her back up the hill. And they fought over who would get to hold her each time. For an hour. Did I mention that they brought her sledding for an hour!? And the entire time Cora was as happy as could be – content in these girls’ arms. And me? Former over-protective mama… I was elated. I spent the time chatting with the girls’ parents. We talked about the Y and my role in the organization. We spoke about Camp Lincoln. We spoke about being parents. But mostly, we just enjoyed one another’s company. We shared in the joy that both our families were experiencing. Our daughters were loving every minute together and we, as parents, were able to share a sunny winter’s day together at Winterfest. In the end, I scored two potential babysitters and Cora was knocked out in the car by the time I put it in drive. All in all, I’d call the day a success!