The first snowfall of the season. It began last night, the white fluff piling up rapidly in between dinner and bath time. Bean-girl scooped up a cup of snow from the back deck, and she and Legume poked at it with their fingers and squealed. This morning we opened our eyes to a powdered sugar wonderland. “Look, Snow Forest came back!” I said to Bean-girl, pointing to the small stand of trees in our back yard which changes monikers with the season—from “Spring Forest” to plain “Forest” to “Fall Forest” and now “Snow Forest” again. (Bean-girl is responsible for these names). “Yeah, Snow Forest is back!” she cried.
Poor Husband took the snow blower out for a spin and it promptly died, a wire snapping before he could even clear two lengths of the driveway. He shoveled clear a path by hand and came back into the house huffing and puffing and soaked with sweat. I was scheduled to give lab journal club, and rushed out into snow, leaving him to deal with the two kids. The snow kept falling, and I realized it was nearly white-out conditions. Cars crawled. Halfway to work, I realized that the schools might well be canceled, and that lab meeting might well be canceled, too. I pulled into a suspiciously (near) empty parking garage. Sure enough, a quick check of e-mail on my computer told me that lab meeting had been pushed back until Monday. And the public schools were closed, too. It was still an official work day at the institute, but there was no work for me to do. I sent off a quick e-mail to my boss, tried and failed to get in touch with Husband, and drove slowly back home (more white-out! Cars on the side of the road!) By the time I finally got in touch with him, I learned that he’d brought Bean-girl into work with him and had dropped Legume off at her daycare (which had remained open). He had the afternoon off, and would bring Bean-girl back home for lunch.
What does a mother do with an unexpected morning off? Stand frozen with the shock of it all. Then grab a shovel and finish clearing out the driveway. I had just finished when Husband turned up with Bean-girl in tow. He, too, was taking off early from work. Obsessed with the broken snow blower, he went on the Internet to track down parts and then drove 14 miles (in terrible road conditions) to track down the replacement wire and belt. Indulgent and lazy mom that I am, I let Bean-girl watch “Polar Express” for the third time. Later, I bundled her up in snowpants and coat so that she looked like the Marshmallow Man. She plowed through drifts with her body like a little human snow plow, giggled, and fell on all fours to make her own bizarre versions of snow angels. Hot chocolate after and then more “Polar Express.” Bean-dad fixed his snow blower and fetched Legume early from daycare. Gnocchi with roasted squash and asiago cheese sauce for dinner. Family time on the couch in front of the tv (yes, I know, we watch—or rather, the kids watch—too much tv). Bath, bed.
The snow seems to have finally stopped for the night. The sky is lit with the pearled luminescence of a snow-lit evening. The kids are asleep; Husband has fallen asleep with them, and I have this time all to myself. Finally. Our Christmas tree is up, the stockings hung. Christmas is only a few weeks away.
The truth is that I hate the snow. All through the fall we Midwesterners start griping about the coming winter. “I hate snow!” Bean-girl told us a few days ago. But yesterday her eyes shone when she saw the first snowfall of the season. And today she loved it.
I felt that way, too.