That’s More Like It

Last Thursday we finally (briefly) had some snow — real snow, not just a trace on the ground. We knew it was coming, so when Ryan woke up at 4:30 and valiantly resisted all attempts to get him back to sleep, I made the best of it by peeking out of the window a lot at all the white. (Ryan’s thoughts on the view: “Eh eh?!”) I imagined sitting with a cup of hot tea, watching the flakes floating down. This wasn’t, of course, possible with a sleep-deprived little boy, but it was nice to think about.

Arguably my favorite part of the day was a couple hours later, when Nathan started to make noise. I went into his bedroom and sat next to him. “There’s a surprise outside for you,” I told him. “Do you want me to open the blinds so you can see?” He made a vague noise of assent, so I let in the daylight and sat back down with him. It was minutes later, when he finally opened and focused his eyes, that he said “What’s that?” And then, “Snow!”

Once he understood the snow situation, Nathan was ready. Forget breakfast, showering, all our normal morning routines. It was time to get outside into the white stuff, and nothing else mattered. We scrambled for clothes, warm coats, and hats, and we were outside by 7am. There were perhaps two inches of crunchy, fluffy snow — just enough to turn the world white and wonderful. Nathan headed into the lawn without hesitation.

Ryan was a little more dubious. After a while I figured out that his shoes for some reason gathered the snow. When his complaints became bitter, I would pick him up and find an inch of packed snow on each sole, which he knew was not right, and which eroded his confidence in his walking ability. Still, we managed to go out walking for about an hour before the lack of sleep caught up with him and he became inconsolably disinterested in the snow. I held one little boy tucked into my coat, trying to get him to fall asleep, and coaxed the other one toward home, inch by dragging inch. I assured Nathan over and over that we would go out again that day, that in fact being outside was our primary goal for the day, with hot chocolate next to the fire a close second.

Thank goodness that Nathan pulled us out so insistently. By 10am the snow was well on its way to melting, as sunlight warmed up the ground. We went out again and Ryan found the world much easier to maneuver around, but Nathan was disappointed by the conversion of snow to slush. By noon the white was nearly gone; patches were tucked away in shadows, and a few dripping snowmen huddled forlornly in front yards.

Still, snow continued to fall on and off for much of the day, taking every form from quarter-inch pellets to huge, fluffy flakes. It never made a white world again, but we did get enough slushy snow on the ground to make a splashy, crunchy layer, perfect for pushing the mop bucket around.

And I managed occasional moments — in between dressing kids, undressing them, feeding them, feeding the fire, and trying to actually get some chores done — of simply watching the snow falling. In later years there will be opportunities to sit and knit, or read, or just enjoy a warm drink and savor the quiet. Now is not that time. Instead snow is currently about bundling up small children, checking fingers and ears to gauge how much longer we can stay out, warm baths when we return, and hoping the shoes dry before our next foray.

And — one of my favorite parts — small hands and noses pressed against the window, and Nathan saying “Look at all the snow!”

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