Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Making of a Snow Day

It is the strange misfortune of Colorado to receive a serious dumping of snow every year around Halloween, and this year will be no exception. Last year was the first in the seven we've been here that the temperature didn't mandate parkas and gloves and other outerware to mask the costumes masking the children. It looks like we'll be back to trick-or-treating in snow boots this year.

We've received well over a foot of snow in the last twelve hours. Before we went to bed last night, I told Josh something would have to change significantly for the schools to call a snow day today, as was rumored in talk of the eminent storm. Sure enough, we woke to a forest of white and to news that all the major districts were closed. When Ben looked out the sliding glass door this morning, he said the neighbor's roof looked like a Christmas cookie, the layer of snow mimicking the smooth frosting of the treats we make for Santa.

So this morning, the kids and I bundled up in our snow gear to trounce in the powder. Abby kept getting stuck--she'd lose her balance in the knee-high snow and find herself up to her shoulders in more of the same, unable to gain the leverage she needed to right herself. Fortunately, this didn't seem to bother her much. She'd simply call, "I neeh hep, Mama." I'd stand her up, replace her glove, and return to my task of shoveling the driveway until her next call. When she wasn't stuck, she giggled in sweet baby cackles at our little neighbor girl who was free-falling backward into the snow over and over. Ben spent his time digging himself into deep holes with his shovel, getting pulled in the sled by our neighbor boy, and helping me shovel the light layer of snow that began to cover my progress before I'd even finished the rest of the driveway.

Now, the kids are upstairs resting: Abby sleeping, Ben "reading" books in his rocking chair. The house is quiet. The cats are snoozing in front of the fire. Outside, the trees are swaying 'round and 'round under the weight of their snow-laden limbs. They look dizzy, disoriented from the constant swirl of white flakes.

When the darlings get up from their naps, we'll make cookies to enjoy with our hot chocolate. We're creating memories, traditions. Ben and Abby are reaching an age where they can appreciate these treats in the context of circumstance. Our small rituals are beginning to assume meaning so that, soon, the mere mention of a snow day will conjure all kinds of comforting images: playing, sledding, shoveling, warming, drying, resting, baking, sipping, nibbling...snow day.

The magical part for me is that I get to make it so.

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