March 3, 2010
By , Rockford, MI
Cold. Peace. Stillness. This is what I feel as I lay with my face to the sky on a winter night. “Get up!” my cousin yells. For I am only lying down because I have crashed, right in her way, sliding off of my sled onto the ice of a frozen Lake Ogemaw. I ignore her. Wanting to stay put in this position forever. As I gaze at the stars, I see the sky start to gently dust me with snow. As the tiny snowflakes gently caress my face, they melt, creating almost cold tears on my face. Staring at the midnight sky above me; my trance is interrupted by a sled and two boots, striking up against my side. My cousin must have become fed up with me ignoring her and gone down the hill anyway. I don’t let this notion however, ruin the moment. I feel her cautiously move to the side and pick up her sled. I hear the soft crunch of the snow as her little boots pitter patter up the hill. When she reaches the top she yells, “Hey! I’m going in!” So I figure that I had better haul myself back up the hill and join everyone inside for some hot chocolate. When I slowly stand up, I realize that the whole backside of my body, which has been lying on the ice, is numb, to an extent. Ignoring the numbness, I trudge up the hill with my sled. Upon reaching the top of the hill I throw my sled onto a pile of sleds that have been thrown there over the course of the day. I shove the pile under the homemade starting ramp that my grandpa had made, insuring they would be safe from the wind. I walk back to the breezeway.
Upon opening the door, a warm rush of air hits me like a tropical breeze. Shutting the door behind me, I stare at the strewn articles of winter clothing, in all different sizes. My little cousin, Gabby, has just taken off her stuff and thrown it on the floor in a soggy pile. I pick up her coat and snow pants and hang them up with my own on the specially crafted rack that my grandpa has made to accommodate the great number of winter clothing worn by our family. I grab her gloves and hat, along with mine, and tuck them under my arm to bring inside, to throw in the dryer, to insure that they will be toasty warm for tomorrow. Taking my hat off, I smooth out my hair wanting it to look semi-decent for any unexpected pictures that will be taken for next year’s family calendar. I walk across the floor scattered with the occasional puddle that used to be snow. I dodge these, but when I get through the door, despite my efforts, my socks are sopping wet anyway.
As I hear the talking and laughter of everyone I shut the door behind me. All of the nine grandkids are sitting at the oversized island, with rosy cheeks and hot chocolate mustaches. I sit to join them. We all sit together talking about crashed sleds, major wipe outs on ice skates, and triumphant hockey victories over adults. When we are finished with our hot chocolate we go into the living room, where the rest of my family is gathered around the TV. We sit together on the floor watching The Polar Express under the glow of the Christmas tree. As my cousins and I snuggle closer, I realize what truly is important in life. What matters. Family.

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