As I groggily awakened Saturday morning, I found myself face-to-face with two big, sparkling blue eyes. My 5-year-old daughter, Neve, pressed her forehead against mine. As she came into focus, I saw her grinning and her eyes dancing with delight. She couldn’t contain her excitement yelling, “Mommy! It is SNOWING!!”
I lifted my head and looked out the window to see flurries skipping through the sky. Flit, flit, flittering to the ground where they immediately…disappeared. Voila!
We live in South Carolina where we are lucky to have sunshine and warmth most of the year, but snow is a rarity. My husband and I hail from Ohio, the land of gray skies and snow aplenty during most of fall, winter, and spring. Not to mention the cold that makes it all possible. Snow was a part of life, and while I found the snow falling beautiful, the chill to my bones just didn’t bring me joy.
Saturday morning though was a different story. It was one of those moments of pure wonder and bliss. Seeing the snow, I jumped from the coziness of my covers and grabbed Neve’s hand. “Let’s go play in the snow!,” I said. She squealed, and we scurried to get outside before we missed our opportunity. I quickly got ready and raced from my room calling my sons to join us. Kill-joys, they claimed they didn’t want to play in the snow; it was too cold. The iPads they gripped told a different story.
To be fair, it wasn’t as if we could build a snowman, have a snowball fight, make snow angels or even touch the miracle falling from the sky. “Playing” merely meant going out into the bitter cold and walking amid the snowflakes. To me it was gorgeous and an opportunity to help my children truly live in the moment.
I herded them all to the mudroom, pleading with them to wear pants rather than shorts (Gasp! Unheard of!) and layers of fleeces, vests, jackets, and hats. We don’t have proper Northern snow gear, so we improvised. Then we shuffled outside to stand beneath the silky sky sprinkling us with sparkly white snowflakes.
Neve and I danced and skipped around trying to catch the icy flakes on our tongues and on our fingertips. The boys, radars always on, immediately noticed their neighbor pals were also outside and joined them to play “Winter Olympics.” My neighbors are wildly creative game creators—watch out Milton-Bradley! The boys were lobbing balls through the basketball hoop, doing planks on the wet cement, and racing wildly around the house—wintry twists on all the stuff they normally do (well, okay not the planks) made special because it was snowing and cold and, well, it actually felt like winter.
Neve eventually connected with a friend too, and I was left standing in the quiet of the swirling snow. I looked up and watched the flakes float down. I thought about the snow forts, icy paths, and winter fun from my childhood. I knew that this day for my kids was nothing like stomping through a foot of snow, chasing friends and dodging snowballs; but I hoped it would be a memory they can one day look back on and think, “Remember when Mom made us go out in that ‘snowstorm’? There wasn’t any snow on the ground but we played Winter Olympics. That was so fun.”
Or even, with a laugh, “I remember when it snowed when I was little. Mom forced us outside even though there was no snow on the ground to play in.”
That’s okay with me. At least it didn’t pass by on the other side of the glass. They felt it. Experienced it. Lived it. And, that is exactly my mission for now: to show them that every day is meant to be lived—for good, bad, hot, cold, yucky, or amazing. As Walt Whitman said in Miracles, “To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Every cubic inch of space is a miracle.”
Breathe it in, feel it, and hopefully recall it often with gratitude, love, and maybe even awe.