As I mentioned on Saturday, we had a pretty significant snowfall last Friday. I received a pre-recorded phone call from the school district informing parents that students would be released early due to inclement weather. I was expecting this. Folks in this neck of the woods drive big trucks and SUVs, but we’re pretty clueless when it comes to how to drive in snow and ice. I was also expecting my kids to be very excited about being able to play in the snow.
Both kids soon bounded through the door–my 12 year old son more excited about getting out of school early than the reason behind it, but my daughter? She couldn’t wait to get back outside and play in the white stuff.
Soon enough the three of us made our way to the backyard. After a brief snowball fight, my son found his way to the swing set. Content to be an observer rather than a participant, he simply enjoyed the blanket of white and the cold while listening to tunes on his ipod.
At this point in the story I could wax poetic about how I reveled in the opportunity to trod through the snow with my 8 year old daughter and experience the rare and magical experience. Instead I’ll be honest and tell you it was cold out there. I had things to do inside. The early dismissal forced me out of my regularly scheduled programming. Basically, I wanted my day back.
And then I caught a glimpse of what my daughter was experiencing and suddenly none of those other things mattered. Because what she had found in the snow-covered lawn was joy — pure, unadulterated, unapologetic, incredibly contagious joy.
So I cheered her on while she made a snow angel, helped her wrap up some snow in tin foil and stored it in the freezer for safe keeping.
We rolled three balls of snow together to make a snowman. We raided the kitchen together to find a carrot nose and raisin eyes. She cheered me on while I clipped a stray branch from an oak tree for arms, even after I got a face full of wet snow for my trouble.
By the end of the following day the snow had been replaced by drizzling rain and the snowman was a shadow of his former self. But even though the snow had melted the memories will remain.
I’ve often wondered where that magic of childhood goes once we’re introduced to the realities of this world. I’ve wondered if it simply abandons us or if it merely sleeps somewhere inside our hidden places. I’m still not sure if it’s either or none. But I am sure of this–we don’t have a say in growing older. But we sure do have a say in growing up.