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Simon SledLast year for Valentine’s Day, we loaded a then four-month old Simon into our car, drove to Jim and Evie’s house, and watched him have the best, most social and flirty day of his life to date. Last year, he was My Funny Valentine.

This year Simon was already at his grandparents’ house for their regularly scheduled Camp Whitworth day when Matt and I arrived for dinner. Unfortunately, he did not proceed to have a fun, flirty night with us the way he did a year ago. Instead, Simon had a difficult re-entry from his afternoon nap and never quite achieved sustained happiness. We had bursts of smiles, activity, and giggles, but they were regularly punctuated by fits of frustration and crabbiness.

Oh well. I guess every holiday can’t play out like a Hallmark commercial.

Wednesday, on the other hand, was a fantastic day. We finally got real snow this week, and even though the weather reports made it look like it would melt before the skies would clear enough to get out and enjoy it, Wednesday the sun came out before the snow melted after all. It was play time. I dragged Simon around our neighbor’s front yard and our back yard in his sled for a half hour or so, and then once Matt’s work day ended we loaded up the car and headed to Cherokee Park.

What a blast! The snow had a thin layer of ice on top, making it super slick. The metal runners on the sled sped across the surface, and Simon enjoyed racing around the soccer field in circles and being guided down a gentle hill. He liked it best when we went fast, so the day called for quite a few sprints in crunchy snow and 30-degree temperatures.

I’m totally out of shape at this point in my life, so it didn’t take much for the cold and the exertion to get me huffing and puffing. I’d be right on the edge of throwing in the towel when I’d look over and see Simon leaning back in the sled, holding onto the side rails, and looking up at me with an expression of happy anticipation. Good sled dog that I was, that was enough to convince me to sprint away, pounding heart and half-twisted ankles notwithstanding.

Interestingly, at one point I lost control of the sled and fell down, doing an impressive skid as I hit the ground. Simon clearly understood what had happened, looked at me with a worried face, and didn’t smile until I laughed and signaled that I was OK. He understands more than I give him credit for.

One of the best parts of our park excursion was being around other families while they enjoyed their snow day, too. Everyone was having fun and there were lots of smiles to go around. It was a moment of winter fellowship, and a thoroughly delightful way to break up a work week.

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