To be honest, this has been a year of hell for the Edmondson family. In addition to the usual 10-12 emergency room visits that our boys grace us with, the stress from travel and the business have taken their toll on me. I haven't had a true vacation or any appreciable break all year. The number of events the company participated in ran into each other, meaning the ability to take a break has been impossible.
It's gotten to the point that I think I'd forgotten how to laugh. I've caught myself being more negative about almost everything in general. Cheri—my wife—made that observation the other day. I think her statement was "I don't think you're a negative person. I just think your work has caused you to become jaded, and that's bleeding into the optimistic person I once knew." Ouch! Words can hurt.
So I started my vacation on Friday. It was the first carefree day I've had in a long time. It felt great. No stress. No pressure. I turned off the ringer on my cell phone and ignored it rang all day long from people trying to reach me.
Then this weekend it snowed here in KC. When we woke up today the sun was beaming in the cloudless sky. I looked out the back window across the open field blanketed in white and I felt the outside calling me to come play. Unfortunately, commitments we'd made to others prevented me from getting out in the snow with my boys until mid-afternoon. I bundled them up, grabbed our Wham-O® snow discs (nothing sleds better!), and took them to our secret sledding hill. It was incredible. Just us and the open hill.
It was Brady's first time sledding. I was a little worried my two year old would be afraid. I mean this hill is no small deal—steep and a bit treacherous. But like the brave little trooper he is, the Pidgy climbed right into my lap and trusted me to keep him safe the whole time. He threw care to the wind, his hands flapping in the air as if he were a canvas-covered eagle, laughing as hard as he could throughout the ride. "Dat wath awethum, Daddy!" he shouted at the conclusion of our first ride down the hill. And yes, it was "awethum!"
It was on our third trip down that we rolled off the sled together into the snow and I belly-laughed as well. Flat on my back I stared into the blue sky, tears in my eyes, embracing the moment fully, realizing that this was how life was meant to be lived—fearless, risky, free, passionate.
This was the best day I've had in recent memory. I owe it all the example set by a two year old. Sometimes we just underestimate what we can learn from children. Today I learned to laugh again. And that, if I hold onto it, is enough to get me through any day.