“No, Papa, I don’t want to go. It’s going to be cold.” Looking over my oldest daughter’s shoulder through the sliding glass door behind her, I watched as sunlight beamed over a still somewhat snowy ground outside.
“Oh come on, honey,” I gently rebuffed. “It’s a beautiful day! It’s almost spring, and besides you’ll end up having fun. Don’t worry!” I chirped.
About a mile from our house is a boardwalk built around the edge of a small body of water. Earlier that morning, while brainstorming possible activities for the day, my wife and I had decided that it might do everyone some good to take in a little fresh air. Maybe a walk on the boardwalk would be just the ticket to lift everyone’s spirits?
Arriving at the trailhead optimistically wearing a sweatshirt, jeans, sneakers, and my green Red Sox baseball hat, I climbed out of my Honda to help my three daughters out of the car. As I did so, a frigid gust of wind immediately hit me. Brrr. After putting our three year-old in a stroller, all of us started down a half snowy, half muddy trail toward the boardwalk. Immediately I wished I’d worn my boots. My oldest reminded me that it was my idea we all wear sneakers.
Closer to the boardwalk, the ground became a virtual ice rink, with all of us straining to maintain our balance. And the wind. I felt my cheeks beginning to freeze. I watched as my oldest daughter, dutifully it seemed, silently trudged forward, looking straight ahead.
Finally we arrived at the boardwalk. Pushing the stroller up onto the raised path, I thought about the gloves I had left behind. Frivolously, I tried tucking my hands into my sweatshirt. I noticed my wife had covered the baby’s head with a sweatshirt, since neither of us had packed a hat for her. Suddenly, another icy wind bathed all of us in a reminder: it was not yet spring.
By the end of our boardwalk stroll, I could barely feel my fingers, and the ice formations in the water had become far less interesting. Shoes now muddy and bodies now shivering, my three girls, wife and I finally arrived back at the car. The baby cried loudly, as I started the engine. No one spoke on the ride home, as we all listened to my three year-old sob from her carseat.
Walking in the front door, I heard the muttering of my oldest, “No one listens to me.”
I did apologize later.