Tag Archives: snow

He Simply Doesn’t Know Better

Our Snowmaggedon turned into Snowmanothin’.

The kids were full-on, wide open RAMPED up about having snow this weekend. I got pretty excited too after my trip to Fresh Market to lay in a weekend supply of brie, crostini, cornichons, sushi, and bruschetta. We went to sleep Friday night to the sound of rain on our roof and temperatures dropping quickly. Friends to the west were already posting pictures of fat fluffy flakes. Wheeeeee!

I woke in the middle of the night and went right back to sleep with a smile on my face. The sound of rain had been replaced with a serene quiet that whispered, “Snow.”

I woke just after dawn and rolled over to peep out the window at….the browny browness of our deck.

Clusterflake 2017

Clusterflake 2017

“Aw, man,” I muttered. “The kids are going to be so disappointed.” I went back to sleep with a little gray cloud of gloom over my head. There goes our special excitement for the weekend.

I finally dragged myself out of bed late in the morning, sure that the children would be piled in a warm and dry heap of despair by the back door, their sleds quietly dry rotting in the tool shed.

Instead, Carlos met me in the hallway, dancing with glee (and nekkid, because that’s his weekend ethos).

“MAMA!!! IT SNOWED! IT SNOWED OUTSIDE! IT SNOWED!” He pulled me to the deck to show me the SNOW.

And that’s when it hit me–he doesn’t know any better.

Carlos is my snow baby, born during the big Christmas snow storm of 2010. That was a snow that I’ll never forget, but it’s not exactly a part of his memory. He also got a fat lip and a black eye during the ice storm of 2014, but I don’t think he remembers much of it.

He’s never been to Utah for snowboarding in a foot of fresh powder. He’s never made a snowman. He doesn’t know what the world looks like from atop a glacier in Austria. He’s never watched the giant pandas at the National Zoo play in the drifts of snow. He’s never been in a snowball fight. He’s never stood outside in the dark and marveled at the quiet of fat fluffy flakes falling all around.

To this cheerful lark of a child, IT SNOWED. He saw this snow for what it was, not for what it wasn’t. Sometimes it’s good not to know better, because it keeps us from comparison. It’s hard to allow happiness to float if we’re always comparing each experience to all of our other experiences to see how it measures up.

Oh, to not know any better so that I can enjoy what is before me.

Pants added in post-production.

Pants added in post-production.

G captured this photo of our boy “playing in the snow.” Boots are for snow. Jackets are for snow. Pants are for SUCKERS.

A Snake, Two Black Eyes, a Fat Lip, and Honey All Over the Couch: Five Things To Do on a Snow Day

five snow dayYeah, here’s why Pinterest can kiss my shiny white ass.  While other moms are out there making craft fair table scapes and snow cream and sugar cookie silhouettes from their family tree, here are just a FEW of my scrapbook worthy moments from the last 48 hours.

  • Carlos yells, “NAKE!  NAKE!” from the den so I drop the can opener and come running.  Last weekend we had a field mouse in the house, so a snake isn’t that far out of the question.  It wasn’t a snake, just a long, sinuous strand of cat barf.  A good foot long and patterned much like an Eastern Diamondback, so I gave the boy credit for rudimentary wildlife identification skills.  And I cleaned it up.
  • On Wednesday, in between the sleet and the freezing rain and the fears of losing power and limbs crashing down on us, I took the kids out in the back yard for a little sledding.  Vivi had a couple of good runs down the hill, made it all the way to the fence by the river.  Carlos asked for “Carlos Turn!” so I put him on the sled and pulled him gently down the hill with the tow rope.  Then we stopped to rest.  As I gazed about on this scene of winter frivolity, marveling at my skills as a mother and making memories for my children, I forgot that sleet is much slicker that snow.  He hooched a little bit and the sled took off again.  He squealed with delight…then slammed right into the big yellow slide attached to our playfort.  No worries, though, his eyebrow stopped the ridge of plastic from going straight through his brain.  First black eye.  Let me get that in the scrapbook!
  • That close call playing over and over and over again in my head was why I was up until 4 a.m. that night.
  • So on Thursday, things were looking up.  We hadn’t lost power.  We hadn’t run out of food or high speed internet.  The kids were playing.  Snow twinkled on the ground and melted down the gutters.  But after the previous day’s incident, I decided not to chance it with taking Carlos outside.  Instead, we went out to dinner then stopped by Target to pick up a few things and let the kids stretch their legs.  Carlos stretched his legs ably…until he tripped and landed face first on the tile floor with a sickening wet thump like a cantaloupe sailing into a fence (bear with my bad similes.  I’m exhausted.)  But no worries!  He landed DIRECTLY on the his right eyebrow, site of the previous black eye.  Please explain this to DFCS when we take him back to school after all this snow day fun!
  • Then Friday came and G had to go back to work.  I took a half day so I could work a little to maintain my sanity but also have time to take the kids out of the house and burn off some of this energy.  Pump It Up was having an extra open play session, so we headed on over.  Vivi took off with a screech for the tallest slide without a look back.  Carlos clung to me like a monkey because–oh, have I mentioned how my son doesn’t like crowds or loud noises or chaotic environments?  Yeah, I wasn’t really thinking when I picked an indoor inflatable play space on Day Four of Snowmaggedon (also known as Pain in the Ice or Clusterflake).  He finally calmed down when he found a plastic car abandoned in the corner.  We played quietly while Vivi ran around screaming.  Seriously, in Lord of the Flies, she would be queen of the island.  One of the newer inflatables is a tee ball thingy, where balls float above a jet of air so that kids can whack them with a plastic bat.  Carlos LOVED it.  Can you see where this is going?  Yep.  Three minutes before we were supposed to leave, he got a little too close to the other 3 year old who was wielding the bat and SMACK.  Fat lip.  Blood everywhere.  Shrieking.  Wailing.  Gnashing of teeth.  Side eye from the other mothers.  Most of whom were sitting there quietly cruising Pinterest on their phones while their children played without losing their hair bows or slinging body fluids on the toys.  
  • By the time we got home and put the poor beaten up kid down for a nap, I decided that I needed one too.  I set Vivi up with my computer to watch Sheriff Callie’s Wild West.  Victoria was snuggled up on the couch reading One Direction fan fiction on her iPad.  I crept off to bed with my book.  When I woke, the den looked….different.  Vivi had decided to fix herself a snack.  Of honey.  Which is best eaten with her fingers, y’know.  It wasn’t even ORGANIC honey–suck it, Pinterest.  It was Sue Bee honey in a motherlovin’ PLASTIC bear.  And now it is on my couch, love seat, door knobs, computer, books, coffee table, carpet, kitchen counters, throw blanket, pillows…and in my daughter’s hair.  

More power to the people who can do this:

snow day table 4

I hope they don’t choke on gingham or fall face first into a glitterized snow cone swath.  I certainly would never wish them washi tape poisoning or anything so crass.  I hope their Depression era cream ware always matches and their kids never get pinkeye or scribble on that milk paint china cabinet.  

Here’s what my snow day memories look like:


I’ll protect him from snakes, take him out in the world, pick him up when he falls, kiss his fat lips, and let him snuggle up in my bed eating Reese’s Pieces from Target.  That’s my boy.  

White Quiet


It’s 2:22 a.m. on Thursday morning.  I fell asleep at 9 p.m. and woke at midnight.  Since then, I’ve been reading “The Golem and the Jinni” and trying to fall back to sleep.  But there’s too much weirdness in the air–our routines are off because of the ice storm.  I think my brain has tried to do so much prepping and planning for a crisis that hasn’t happened that I can’t turn it off now.  So let’s roll with it.

If I’m up at 2:22 a.m., might as well see that phase of the day that I usually miss.  I tried to get Huck to go out in the front yard with me, but he knows he’s not supposed to be out there without a leash.  I stood in the shelter of the garage while he waited nervously by the kitchen door.  The city is a pink glow behind the pines at this hour.

We went to the deck and he hurtled down the stairs and into the bright night.  It’s strange to hear the crunch of his steps.  I’ll try to remember that.  Smoke drifts from my new neighbor’s chimney.  I haven’t been over to say hello yet, but I enjoy the smell of his wood fires.  Oops–there’s Vivi’s jacket that I hung out here to dry the other day–frozen solid.  I prop it against the wall for her to see in the morning.  The bird feeders need filling again.  I wonder where all those birds sleep.

It’s so quiet that I can hear the river.  It truly does whisper.

One snowflake drifts down onto my cheek and I’m sure it’s a hello.

Huck is watching me from his crate, a white dog on a white cushion in a white world.  Nose as black as a polar bear’s and a pair of sleepy eyes.  But he’ll stay up with me if I need him.

But maybe it’s time to sleep.  Maybe some writing was what I needed to turn off my brain.  To find rest.

Good night.  Good morning.  Good day.

Every Baby Changes the World

baby snow angel

I’ve been thinking about babies for the last few days, specifically two growing boys named Carlos and Justice.

December 26th is “Carlosmas” because my son was born on a snowy, quiet morning the day after Christmas, three quick years ago.

When G and I went to the hospital at 7 p.m. on Christmas night, the snow had just begun to fall.  Vivi was beside herself with excitement–a visit from Santa, Grandma in charge, snow, AND a baby brother!  My whole body quivered with nervous energy, too.  When we got to the maternity unit, my friend, Paulette, was going off shift but decided to stay to get me settled.  That one act of kindness set my mind at ease.  It was all going to be OK.

For Vivi’s arrival, there had been a host of people in and out all day–I got giving birth somewhat confused with a tea party.  In the end, it was perfect and just the right entrance for Vivi, who has always been vivacious and loves the fuss and bother of a party.  For Carlos’ arrival, it was just G and me, whiling away the quiet hours of the night.  We walked the empty halls.  We watched a black and white movie.  We watched the snow gather on the big dogwood tree outside my window.  We slept until 6 a.m. and I woke knowing that it was going to be SOON.

But there was no chaos.  My friend, Alecia, four months pregnant herself and married to my cousin’s cousin, ended up being our delivery nurse.  She called my doctor, who lives just a block away so he walked in through the snow.  G and I had done this before, so we were more excited than nervous.  The room filled with joyful people as the snow fell outside.  

Carlos arrived at 6:27 a.m., along with a lavender glow of sunrise on the snow.  I remember looking out the window and feeling such peace.  My son is a quiet, joyful child–the chillest little person you’d ever want to meet.  Looking back now that I know him better, his birth morning suited him perfectly.  

While I watched the purple snow take on the light of morning, with my son now in the world with me, I thought about Christmas and the miracle that Christians believe happened with the birth of one child.  My heart told me in that moment that EVERY baby is a miracle.  Every baby is another chance to get it right, to be our best selves, to live love.  Thoreau put it best:  “Every child begins the world again.”  

Last year, in the snowy winter, a little boy was born many weeks early.  He began his life too small and all alone and struggling.  He embodied a chance to live love to anyone who could take him.  And that’s exactly what he got.  A man I knew a long time ago, David, and his husband, Mark, adopted this tiny baby and gave him a name and a family.  They loved him until he was strong enough to leave the hospital.  They did the work to make him part of their family.  They met his every need and then some.  Justice has flourished in his family.  I saw a picture of him and his big sister the other day and that baby has the kind of cheeks that make you believe that everything is going to be OK.  In a year, his expression has blossomed into smiles.  He lives in love and it shows.  

I guess what I was thinking about on the morning of Carlos’ birth was something like this:  we spend so much effort and energy thinking about another world when there are miracles born every day in this one.  Every baby is a gift with the potential to save us from our worst selves.  Every baby is a chance to get it right.  Every baby brings peace and a chance to live love.