I wake to a snowy morning, with school delays and closings scrolling along the bottom of the 6:00 AM news broadcast. Snow days carry so many memories. As a child I remember the tremendous joy of an unexpected reprieve from school.
Memories of my child-rearing years focus on the pleasures of an unscheduled day with three ecstatic children -- the gift of "no school" and piles of fluffy snow was something to treasure. The reality of those snow days was the repetitious process of gathering wet jackets, snowpants, scarves, hats, and gloves and shoving them into the dryer as I mopped up water on the kitchen floor and put cocoa on the stove to warm -- and then gathering the warm, dry outerwear from the dryer as everyone headed back outside for another round of sledding and horseplay in the lovely white stuff. The memory that warms my heart, though, is the pleasure of having all three children and their friends together for the day -- hot cocoa and cookies from the oven warming their hands and hearts.
This past week, our snow day was a time to gather my three little grandchildren together at my house. For the past year and a half, I have cared for them at my son's home; this year, Alivia began full-day kindergarten, which means she and Luke have only an hour together in the morning to play. They were so excited at the thought of spending the snow day at Grammy's house -- an entire day together. We worked on a craft project, which my artsy little ones love -- snowmen made from socks -- as the snow gently fell on the outside world.
During the afternoon, I held them in my lap as I read favorite books to them -- and we recalled the days when they were babies together, and I snuggled them in my lap anytime we all felt the need for the warmth of a hug. They carry so many warm memories of those years together in my cozy old house, and I cherish those memories myself. I know the reality was less than idyllic -- stiff joints and aching back for Grammy, tantrums, diapers, the craziness of life with toddlers -- but these are the memories that must be deliberately summoned. The memories that come to mind instead are those that have been gently colored by the brushstrokes of time -- the peaceful moments when I held two sleeping babies in my arms, the sight of two precious little heads side by side playing with their dolls or their blocks. Even now, as I lay on Emma's bed at naptime, with pain in my back and my hands going numb from rubbing her legs as I sing to her, the memory I carry instead is of her precious little face on the pillow beside me.
And, while the snow day this past week was hectic, noisy, long, and very tiring, already my "misty memory" is one of a perfect day -- all three of my beloved little ones together again in my old house, playing, drawing, laughing, making snowmen that will not melt away, and memories that will become more and more beautiful with time --