“Whoever stays up the longest, wins!” shouts Nate over his shoulder as he jumps into the long “ski” down the permanent snow fields that cover the back basins of Kneeknocker Pass.
Giggling, I watch him slide all the way down, gracefully making turns as though his boots were a pair of short skis strapped to his feet.
I wait for him to come to a complete stop, just short of a large boulder field, before squealing and angling my own booted feet down the slope. I stay upright for about three seconds before crashing to the ground and sliding the rest of the way down the hill, the palms of my hands on fire from cold and friction as I grasp at the snow frantically try to slow my speeding body down.
As I reach the bottom of the pitch, I come to a stop, my stomach aching from the peals of laughter that came bursting out of me as I hurled myself down the snow as though I were on a steep, wet water slide.
As a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up; to run my own household and to dictate my own daily adventures. I spent inordinate amounts of time playing imaginary games about saving the day from all the bad guys that plagued Wilmette and wrangling wild mustangs out on the ranch. I always imagined that the freedoms of adulthood would be far better than being a kid constrained by household rules and responsibilities.
Little did I know that as an adult some of my most memorable experiences would revolve around the carefree feeling of games in my own outdoor playground and quenching a thirst of curiosity that is prevalent in a naive child exploring the hidden secrets of their front yard.
As I have aged, I have come to the realization that some of the things that are viewed as childish are sometimes the very things that help me cope with the pressures of adulthood; the ugly side of responsibility.
Sometimes you can’t help but be a kid.