After returning to the parking lot to retrieve Henry's forgotten mittens in the car, the boys and I climbed the biggest hill where crowds of kids had gathered. Trying to stay off to the side and out of the way of oncoming sledders was easier said than done. There was no "side". People were coming down the entire width of the hill, as their companions on top yelled "LOOK OUT" to the climbers below. I tried my best to steer the boys out of the path of the fastest sledders. Henry started to cry because I was yelling at him. (With fear for his safety, I may have raised my voice to be heard above the mayhem.)
Somehow we managed to get to the top of the hill, just in time to turn and see a big boy get hit by a sledder and lay motionless in the snow for what seemed like an eternity. Although he eventually got up and continued climbing, his misfortune was enough to scare all three of us. I didn't have long to question the folly of the park district failing to mark off a climbing lane--my boys were ready to go down! One good push and they were off.
After several more turns gliding down the hill, our luck ran out. Climbing back to the summit, first Henry and then Liam were hit by oncoming sleds. Liam's impact was so dramatic, one boot flew off. He was crying pitifully by the time I reached him. I felt so bad for putting them both, quite literally, in harm's way.
I couldn't spend too much time comforting either boy since we were still in the path of speeding children and adults. Despite the chilly wind, Henry was having a meltdown and couldn't follow my directions. (With fear for his safety, I may have raised my voice to be heard above the mayhem.)
As best I could, I gathered both boys and our trusty blue sled leading them to the other side of the park. Here the hills were about half the height of the summit we originally climbed. Because of this, few families had gathered on these slopes. Still, the thirty degree angle was plenty to entertain Henry who went down again and again. Liam was quite shaken however, still crying about his now reattached boot; he wasn't about to leave my side.
An hour or so after arriving, we returned to our car. The boys are not crazy about hot cocoa--they take a few sips and then abandon the cups, so instead I treated them to apres snow cheese fries. I'm happy to report that the snack returned smiles to their faces.