Did you ever have an image in your head of something you wanted to do –
thinking that it would be the perfect way to make a family memory ?
Well I certainly did.
somewhere over these past few years I developed this idyllic moment in my mind of my kids and I on a sleigh, being pulled by horses through snow covered forest,twinkle lights , snow glistening…
– you get it right ?
Riding through the snow
On a one horse opened sleigh
All the fields we go laughing all the way .
You get the vision right ?
Yeah something like that .
So imagine my smile when I spotted an ad for sleigh rides through a farm in the mountains.
We were headed up there for some family time, some winter sports, and yup making memories.
So I call…
I get this woman on the phone and I book the sleigh ride –
I’m super excited and can’t wait to do it.
I don’t ask my usual million questions because how much is there to know?
Snow – sled- horse- perfection.
Although at the end of the conversation I did say –
Are there lights along the way ?
Her reply- oh gosh yes the way is lit by the light of the moon.
that didn’t sit so well with me but.. I figured..
Don’t be so cautious – michele
Live a little –
Which is kinda funny because I’m not overly cautious by nature –
but as a mom I know at times I over do it.
I know I hover –
I over protect –
I evaluate and reevaluate –
I’m a germa phobe –
I fear “the virus” seriously I fear it-
and I call it “the virus”
The dreaded stomach virus has wreaked havoc and caused serious anxiety for me with my kids so I try and protect them as much as I can from “the virus”
I even whisper it when I say it.
I kid you not.
I feel like if I don’t say it too loud the universe won’t hear it .
I sanitize them –
I bleach their sheets so much they disintegrate – and get holes in them
Target loves me.
I make them hold their breath in an elevator
& not touch the handrails
I teeter on craziness with them .
I know it – and half the battle is knowing it
so don’t judge.
I try to keep them safe just like all of you
just maybe I do it in slightly different ways
And then catch myself & I try and find a spot in my soul that says.. Ok you made the best choice – they need to learn a bit on their own and your there to catch them ..
Fast forward a few days and it’s the day of the sleigh ride.
did i mention its a night ride? well its a night ride.
It was 5′ outside
I kid you not.
It was freaking freezing.
I hate the cold.
I loathe it.
This is my vision, so again I go with it.
My kids are almost looking at me in horror as I bundle them up so much all you can see is their eyes. And then I put snow goggles on them so basically there’s nothing exposed.
My lovely outspoken last child, my daughter slides the scarf down and says –
“Mom are you serious ? Are we really doing this? ”
Right away both boys chime in and say – this is what mommy chose – we got to pick something on this trip and this is what she picked so yes we are doing it.
We pile in the car
Drive the to the farm
we pull up – and it looks abandoned.
Seriously run down
Almost junkyard like.
But that does not scare me
I love vintage –
I’m convincing myself that…
this is More American pickers less Sanford and son .
They look at me and I fake smile –
And I say
” come on guys this is going to be beautiful . ”
We get out.
In the distance you hear this chain rumbling -& out of nowhere comes this huge dirty white dog.
Yeah I do too-
It was cujos third removed cousin I’m convinced of it .
so I scream get back in the car !
We get back in the car
My heart is beating,
I start to sweat,
Sign number 1.
My instinct are saying.
Go the hell home
But I don’t . A guy comes out grabs the beast & assures us from the sliver of a crack that I open the window that he will lock up . Mr. Buttercup.
So we get out.
We go inside the barn /shack/outhouse/falling apart structure/
Whatever it is.
A baby lamb comes running to us. I find out it’s 6 days old.
My daughter screams mom it’s bleeding !
I look down and the thing is bleeding from her bottom. I said omg this baby lamb is bleeding.
The pleasant teenager behind the desk said . It’s a goat mam . Ughh she called me mam – I roll my eyes . it’s a goat mam and we cut off its tail a few minutes ago – don’t worry – it’ll stop soon
Go the hell home
I carry on.
I ignore the bleeding baby livestock hovering around our feet &
I say we are checking in for the sleigh ride .
3 children .
She said how old is he ? Pointing to my oldest I say
One adult 3 children –
She says it’s 22$ for adults 10 for children
Great -I say – 1 adult 3 children .
At this point The baby lamb goat whatever pees right next to my daughters feet –
Did I mention we were inside ? Yeah so this thing pees – I’m semi arguing with this teenager because she tells me adults are 11 and over – I said again
ok 3 kids one adult .
I feel like rain man at this point except rain man doesn’t tell little white lies and I just did because my son is 11 but I figure really ? 12 more dollars because he’s a few months older than their so called child cut off.
My middle guy opens his mouth and says mom he’s 11.
I ignore him.
Mom , but he’s 11 .
I ignore him again.
Mom can you hear me ? He’s ..
And my oldest pushes him out of the way . Clearly he gets it. We are trying to save a few dollars and really at this point is a few months really that big of a deal ?
So I look at my middle guy who’s giving me the “you always tell us to tell the truth look ”
and so I I say feeling defeated and totally being held accountable I say to the teenage girl – he’s 11.
.I now pay full price for my 11 year old .
I hand her my card .
Oh I’m sorry mam — I grimace – she looks shocked – ( I secretly think to myself you just wait twiggy until someone calls you mam )
mam it says your debit card is not working – to call the bank . & I remember my debit card has a spending per day limit – and since we did ski lift tickets ferry ride gas food etc we hit that limit –
Sign #3 to get the hell out of here –
I ignore it – I pay cash
We get on the sleigh – horses are beautiful – and big.
We wrap ourselves in blankets and huddle up –
It’s starting to happen –
the vision I had in my head –
It’s coming together
Other families join the festivities and I think hmm this is going to be ok- I’m not alone In Taking my 3 kids through the woods at night w complete strange men driving a sleigh .
It’s dark – really dark – I look up to find the light of the moon as the lady said but —
There’s a storm coming –
There’s no light from the moon –
There is no moon-
There’s not even a god damn star –
You guessed it
Bail now I think before it’s too late —
I don’t bail because I’m determined to make this memory to find something good —
I’m a glass half full kinda girl —
Before we start moving
My daughter wants to sit as close to the horses as she can – we are up in the front of the sleigh.
We Can barely see a thing –
My view .
You guessed it –
A horses ass .
A big horses ass ..
Two big horses asses.
I just sigh ..
We start moving .
The guy whose driving the sleigh says –
Horses sweat too so we may take a few breaks along the way and Jim’s belly has been acting up so we are going to take it slow.
Jim’s the horse.
Who’s ass is directly in front of us
A mere 2-3 feet tops in front of us.
Freaking sign 5.
I just shake my head in complete defeat .
We go – we move – and then
I look at my kids – my heart smiles we may not be looking at twinkling lights or glistening snow but we are together – under a blanket . Us. Them . Me. Together .
I took a breath in, I sighed with happiness that all was right in our world just at that moment.
I was finally present, like really present in the moment. not care in the world just soaking in this fraction of time with those I love most in the world.
Jim the horse –
well he certainly did have some belly issues .
he starts to lift his tail I know what’s coming –
my poor kids don’t have a clue – so Jim the horse a rather explosive bowel movement and has gas so loud it sounds like a bomb is going off.
The smell – omg I almost vomited I begin to gag –
I yell – seriously I yell
Hold your breath.
Put your head under the blanket .
The other people on the sled must have thought I was nuts – they began to whisper – I heard the word flat lander but at the moment didn’t know what the hell it meant & honestly I could care less
Id be damned if we were going to be “exposed”
horse germ or not it’s a germ right ?
My kids of course think this is the funniest thing that has ever happened. We are two feet from a horses ass that is having explosive diarrhea !!!
And it happens over & over along our what seemed like a billion acre sleigh ride.
They are hysterical
I am horrified
The fn’ing horse .
Has “the virus” .
What are the god damn odds of that happening..
And right then I’m reminded that we are guided by a source higher than ourselves , & sometimes things don’t work out as we expect & even though one of my kids best memories from this trip included bowel movements and fouls smelling gas issues. – it’s the feeling behind it.
No pun intended.
It’s the small moments, the ones you can never plan,
Not that I would ever plan that experience !
But someday when they are telling this story to their children and their children’s children they won’t remember the idyllic moment we were on the slopes for the first time together , or how I navigated unpaved mountain roads to get us here , they will remember Jim, the horse that had diarrhea & they will laugh uncontrollably like they did the other night .. And I’ll smile because they are smiling and I’ll laugh because they are laughing and I’ll give them my “schpeel” about how sometimes the universe has other ideas for our perfect expectations , and the it’s not the details it’s the feeling and how important it is to be present in the moment for you never know what the present has planned for us!
So there you have it.
I’m a flat lander, virus phobic over sanitizing momma of 3 who made one of our best family memories by being present with my children on a farm in a sleigh in 5’degrees somewhere in the mountains & I wouldn’t have it any other way !
which is what inspired our chalkboard weekly family quote from our home to yours!!