Standing on top of the hill, I attempted to secure Emy's hood for the 5th time since leaving the car. I could barely hold onto our sled, much less hear my daughter's voice over the whipping wind.
"What's that Em?" I asked her lifting up the edge of my hat as I leaned in closer.
"I said, I'm a little bit scared, ARE YOU scared?"
Trying to gain a sense of our surroundings, I paused before answering and a favorite line from an Ani DiFranco song, popped into my head, "The sky is grey. The sand is grey. And the ocean is grey. I feel right at home in this stunning monochrome, alone in my way." No ocean or sand in sight, this song, aptly named Grey, described our current environment perfectly.
The parking lot, the field leading up to the base, the hill itself, were all covered in February snow - whitish, grayish, dull in color but sharp in its icy texture. Deeply packed, oh how I miss the grass, February snow. Above the sky was layered with clouds that were slowly darkening as yet another snowstorm rolled into SE Michigan. Enough sunlight filtered through to cast a hazy glare, strong enough that I longed for my tinted sunglasses that were left lying on my kitchen counter.
Taking this all in through my damaged eyes that struggle with depth perception and definition in high-contrast environments I regretted the decision to take my three-year old sledding immensely. It looked and felt as if we were about to sled off the edge of the world into a giant sea of grey nothing. Scared? I was downright terrified.
I looked as directly into her deep brown eyes as I could, took a deep breath, and lied. "Not really, I know it seems scary but sledding is fun. I will keep you safe."
This is where I am at in motherhood. Lying to help my daughter be brave, to overcome fear so that she can try something new and exhilarating. There was no way I was going to be able to see where we were going, no way to avoid any potential bumps or ridges as we careened down the hill. I would completely be surrendering control to the moment, and that is something I have to be okay with. Fear is something I live with every day since I lost my vision. But I refuse to succumb to it in any way that will add to fear or apprehension in my daughter. Courage isn't about not being scared. It's about setting aside the fear long enough to move forward. At least that’s what I tell myself over and over again.
Heart racing I sat down on the pink plastic sled, Emy secured tightly between my legs.
"Are you ready?" I asked.
Nodding, she replied, “Hold on tight Mama."
"Let's do this."
Pushing off the ground ever so slightly, before lifting my hands and feet into the sled, we began our descent into the great big grey nothing. And it was exhilarating.