We had a blizzard this week in the Midwest. This in itself is not unusual, though this particular storm is (according to the local meteorologist) the third worst December storm on record. We think we received between 12 – 14 inches where we live. It’s hard to tell for sure because the 40 & 50mph winds swirled, spiraled and blew till drifts blocked driveways and stoops, and made many a road impassable.
The storm brought a bitter cold that has a bite to it. The harsh chill makes me thankful for a warm coat, a warm house and a warm husband.
There was a time (years and years ago) when the bitter cold of winter was inviting…even with its harsh promise of numb fingers and dripping noses. My favorite childhood winter activities were sledding (we had the most amazing – though ancient – toboggan), building snowmen, and hiding in snow forts built by my Dad.
As time has passed, so too has my childhood love of the snow. I suppose this change in my attitude is due to the simple fact that I grew up. Gone is the toboggan of my youth. It has been replaced by snow shovels, ice scrapers, and emergency flares. The winter of an adult is much less enticing than that of a child. There are few “snow days” in the world of gainful employment. Instead of snowball fights and ice skates, we worry about road conditions and wind chill. I’m no Scrooge. I love a bit of snow on Christmas, but usually that would be plenty for me.
But this year is different. Once again, I find myself drawn by the promise of a fresh snowfall. For the first time, in a long time… I’m wondering if the snow is wet enough to pack into a snowman. I have dug out my long-johns and am actually excited about putting them on. As you may have guessed, this change of heart is due to Willie. He was much too tiny last year to really be introduced to the snow in a real way. His limited exposure to his first winter cold was the quick walk from house to car – and back again, snugly tucked into his carrier, covered with a warm blanket.
That tiny baby of last year has morphed into a funny little boy with an independent streak, boundless energy and a penchant for adventure. Will is transfixed by the magic and mystery of the chilly white stuff. He wants to play outside every day. He does not care that his nose gets red, his cheeks even redder, or that snowflakes get caught in his eyelashes. He wants to touch the snow. He wants to taste it. He wants to jump in face first and figure it all out for himself.
This weekend we have no big plans. We will be mostly hibernating, bundling up in old sweaters and wool socks, cuddling under blankets and sipping hot chocolate. We will make some soup and home-made cookies. We will wrap presents, listen to holiday music and watch too much tv. We will play with Will, and the house will be filled with the sound of his giggles and chatter.
When we need a break, we will all bundle up and venture into the cold. We’ll make snow angels and snow balls. We’ll jump into snow drifts and build a snow fort. We’ll watch our twinkly-eyed little elf as he explores the newness of it all.
We will be very cold. Our socks will be wet. Our noses will drip. Our fingers and toes will be numb.
We won’t care.
It will be a fabulous weekend!