Since the very first site of flurries, the kids have relentlessly begged to make a snowman. I certainly wasn’t on the “nice” list of mommies who were able to dive into the snow with their kids this past month. We all would have preferred to be buried in fluffy, light snow; but instead, we were buried in nebulizers, snotty tissues and aspirators. Then, you know those moments as a parent when the minute an opportunity opens, something else interferes, making redemption with your children nearly impossible? The minute the kids got healthy and the fluffy, light snow showed itself again, this mommy had to go to work (a.k.a. disappoint the kids again).
I had made a promise and I was determined to keep it. There was just one teeny, weenie little problem. I would need to cut a deal with the one man who despises me,
Old Man Winter.
Ugh, I might as well throw in the shovel now. I needed him to cooperate so that I could fulfill my promise to the kids and put myself back on the “nice” list. So many moons and mornings passed with no snow. This would be my luck. Classic actually. The minute I want him to show his cunning face, he doesn’t. Weeks went by, but there was never enough snow or the right time to make good on my promise.
Until this morning.
The kids woke up before the sun rose and scampered into the living room. It was a rough night without sleep and I was feeling pretty anxious. I peeked over the side of the Christmas tree in the living room window and saw something white and bright. It was snow and lots of it! Dare I admit that it actually looked beautiful? I told the kids to look out of the window and I knew what they were thinking. I turned to them and asked, “Do you guys want to make a snowman with mommy today?” They immediately started to jump with anticipation before assuring me that “Yes”, they wanted to build a snowman.
Now can I admit something for a minute? Let me explain another reason why I have a negative relationship with Old Man Winter. The clothes! The bundling of clothes that end up being too tight, too short, too cold, too wet, too bulky, too unsafe or too much of everything. As a mother, bundling up the kids feels more like a 10 minute Insanity Workout that leaves me panting before all four of us have even made it out of the door. Then by the time we make it to the van, someone always falls in the snow, someone looses a glove and someone is crying because they “can’t breathe.” A lot of fun folks.
No soon after I prepared breakfast, I filled up the gas tank for the snow blower, shoveled and cleaned up for the morning, I was ready to make good on my promise. There were moments I didn’t think we’d make it out of the door. Benny needed to be fed again and was showing signs of what his mother desperately needed…a nap. I imagined no soon after we made it out of the door that he would likely wake up, which of course would result in a meltdown because the “nice mommy” teased the kids and then insist that they had to go back inside.
I took the chance anyway, but then came the clothes (and meltdowns). Kids don’t understand why you have to nip and tuck everything or why they have to look like they’re about to be catapulted to the moon instead of their yard. One child is crying because something doesn’t feel right while the other child is taking off one layer that took you nearly 5 minutes to put on for the fourth time in a row.
Then you can’t find a “pair” of anything.
I couldn’t find Autumn’s gloves and turns out, she only had the cloth gloves. You know, the kind that soaks in the wet snow like a sponge and inevitably re-routes everyone back inside within minutes? Yeah, that kind. I didn’t know what to do, so I took two sandwich bags and taped them on the outside of her gloves. She looked at me like I was crazy, while Isaiah laughed (hard). What was a mom to do? I was desperate and at this point, we were already half-way there. There was no looking back now.
I panted and soldiered on.
We miraculously made it outside and within minutes, I quickly realized why it was all worth it. They saw their new sleds and screeched before making their way down a tiny hill they found. I didn’t even think they would know what to do, but they did. Then one would begin pulling the other by the sled. Before you knew it, we were making a snowman, snow angels, feeding squirrels with leftover cranberry and having snowball fights.
I had to keep looking at them because I was expecting a meltdown or two. Can you blame me though? I did have a 3 year old in plastic hand-made gloves. I don’t know if Old Man Winter had compassion for me or not, but it was a perfect temperature outside and everyone was actually embracing what he laid out for us. When the snowman was done, the kids helped me to find sticks and rocks to add their final touches. Watching a 5 and 3 year old trudge through the snow that was up to their knees was blissful; partly because I knew that it would wipe them out just in time for a nap.
There was a moment when I found myself chasing them and couldn’t feel my face because it was frozen. I could barely move it and you want to know the best part? It was stuck in a paralyzing smile I couldn’t break. Not just from the many times my son hit me with a snowball directly in the face, but because I couldn’t stop smiling. I chased the kids, threw snowballs and collapsed in the snow after them. I was no longer thinking about the hour it took us to make our way out of the door, the sore back from shoveling two driveways or receiving the “Mother of the Year” award for my daughter’s plastic gloves. I was in their invitation for the day and I was melting in gratitude for the promise that made it possible.
We made our snowman and I even taught them what to do when they get thirsty. You just stick your tongues out on clean, white snow (I did reiterate that part) and drink up. Maybe another “Mother of the Year” moment? Look closely and you’ll see the wrapped sandwich bag.
Eventually, our bell rang (a.k.a. Autumn’s plastic glove fell off) to go inside and I suggested we all have hot chocolate. No soon after we took off all of our gear, Benny woke up. It was perfect timing and a perfect ending to what turned out to be the perfect morning.
We all sat together and slurped our hot chocolate as the kids told me funny things we did together. I couldn’t get them to stop popping up from their seats to see “our snowman” that waved to us from the front window. It was in that moment that I realized why making promises is so important. It’s not just about showing our children that we can follow-through or even that we’re reliable. It’s about showing ourselves that we’re able to follow through with promises that seek to provide us with something we may not even know we need.
I still thinking putting on winter clothes is an act of parental warfare, but it was completely worth it. Oh and don’t worry. You can all thank me for the the next time you need to whip out an emergency sandwich bag and tape.
In Love & Truth,