Yesterday afternoon I gazed out the window, still in my pajamas, hot cup of tea in hand, tissues by my side and smiled. I felt like complete and utter crap having caught a bit of pneumonia mixed with a little of the flu (thank you Hannah and Luke), but out the window was pure beauty. Yes, the trees were covered in powdery snow, the kind that you want to scoop up and lick out of the palm of your hand, and there were light fluffy snowflakes still falling from the sky making you want to tilt your face up to feel them land gently on your nose, your forehead and your tongue. But this isn’t even what was so beautiful. In the midst of the blizzard, there was Hannah and Tim, outside, in their snowsuits, building a snowman. I couldn’t hear their voices but I could not just SEE their smiles, I could feel them. I could imagine the instructions Hannah was giving Tim for how to appropriately roll the snow to make the right size balls. How to pack the snow to give her structure the right form. I saw the giggles as Hannah rolled small snowballs and tossed them at helpless Bella who tried to leap away from each powdery sphere as it splattered in her small face.
And I thought, I Chose This.
So many times I’ve complained about the cold. Complained about the icy roads, the school cancellations, the sickness, and the cabin fever that winter brings to New England. But the upside, the benefits of the three, sometimes four or five, months of winter I am starting to believe outweigh the cons. I have handed Hannah (and one day Luke when he is less fearful of the snow and will actually move a muscle and not just stand like a statue in his snowsuit) this beauty. These snowfilled adventures.
I have such fond memories of lying on my back in a foot of snow, opening and closing my arms and legs until I believed I had formed the perfect angel. I remember the hours I spent trekking up the neighbor’s hill, red saucer sled in hand for the 20 second thrill back down. If I close my eyes I can imagine my frozen eyelashes on the chairlift when I learned to ski. And the dozens, no maybe hundreds, of snowmen, big and small, crooked and straight, fat and skinny, that I made each and every winter.
I am now reliving these memories. Watching these memories form through Hannah. It was a push to get her off the couch and into her snowsuit yesterday. It takes 45 minutes to get her dressed, zipped, mittened and booted up for about 30 minutes outside, but it was worth it. Even viewing her through the window with my raging sore throat and hacking cough, it was worth it. Just kissing her chilled red cheeks and rubbing her icy little hands between mine makes living through these winters worth it.
And it makes me realize how much of the future of her memories sits in my lap. She doesn’t know the things today that she’ll look back on with happiness. What things will make her giggle when she closes her eyes in 20 years thinking back on today. But I do. And what a responsibility that is! Because not only do I want her to get a thrill from her days today but I want to be sure she has stories to tell tomorrow. I want to be handing her experiences that I know she’ll love for her lifetime. Because yes, no matter what we “do”, I know I’m showing her a nice life. A happy life. But it’s the adventures, the excursions, the things that may seem like too much of an effort at the time, that will really stick with her.
So I’m glad I got her off the couch. Not only to remind myself why I love where I live so much, but also to hand her a memory.
She can thank me later.