Family: Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

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The snowflake generation rails against type

It’s snowing heavily and as I arrive home Eldest Child and his lifelong pal are standing at the big hall window, watching the flakes spiral down. They’re saying things like “proper snow”, “get the sledges out” and “wipeout” as they watch. Only the glass of wine in Eldest’s hand gives away the fact they are now into their third decade.

“Starbank...” says his pal, and immediately I’m back there at the top of the park with its steep incline running all the way down to the sea. It’s a favourite sledging venue in these parts, and if it weren’t for the Saltire of horizontal metal railing fence that crisscrosses the grass and waits to behead the unwary, the stop-you-in-your-tracks cast iron benches that litter the paths and the solid stone wall at the bottom (at least it stops you shooting over the road into the icy sea), it would be ideal. But not being ideal never stops anyone. In fact it only makes it more fun, apparently.

“Remember that time I was speeding down the slope and only saw the fence at the last minute?” says his pal, laughing.

“I’ll never forget it,” I say. This was early on in the boys’ sledging careers and they were still on a steep learning curve vis a vis the idiosyncrasies of the park and techniques to avoid serious injury. Where is this snowflake generation people talk about, because I’ve not seen much evidence of it my side of A&E? If only.

I remember watching powerless, holding my breath and running through my speech for his mum as I waited for the impact of metal on skull. Then at the last second, he flipped himself flat into a lying toboggan stance and slipped under the railing – that’s when I knew he was smart. How we all cheered, especially me, the Responsible Adult.

“Yeah, that was class,” says Eldest. “If it keeps snowing everything’ll be shut tomorrow, no buses, no work, sledging!”

“Yas!” says his pal.

Well I’m staying well away, because they might not have lost their youthful joie de vivre, but I very much doubt they can still make it under that fence.