Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow day

The look on her face says it all.

A few weekends ago we went to our little house in the country for a quick get away from work and the day-to-day relentless busy-ness of being in Manhattan, and It went pretty much the way it always does - We had a wonderful drive with no traffic and perfect timing, with Dear Alex chatting amiably about everything and anything, and astonishing me with her command of language and it's nuances and potential for fun. We talked, and then suddenly, silence - she was out along with Beautiful Wife, asleep, more or less for the rest of the way. I still love the gentle exhalation of arrival, that turn into the driveway and the quiet at last of turning off the car and the gathering of will to get everyone out and into the house. Beautiful Wife opens the door and I scoop Dear Alex from her car seat all limbs and floppy dead weight as it occurs to me how much she's grown, and how long we've been doing this. I get a tighter hug and a whispered "I love you king daddy" as she falls back to sleep on my shoulder as I carry her up, up, up to her room and to bed. Saturday was a grey and cold lie-on-the-couch-and-watch-movies kind of day, and when the snow started to fall, it came as an endorsement of staying in and doing nothing save cuddling on the couch. It snowed beautifully, all afternoon, at times the world beyond the deck seeming to have disappeared behind the curtains of white. As evening came, I had that feeling that Dear Alex and I should get out a little and play, and decided that it would be good to make it a trip to the store to get us all dinner - good fun to try the car in the snow, and a chance to give BW a little break.

I had the odd thought while driving through the densely falling snow on the unplowed roads that this was a perfect moment, one to be savored for it's rarity. I read somewhere recently about how we don't really think to count and celebrate how many chances we'll get to do these seemingly ordinary things, and it put me in the mind to appreciate the beauty of watching thickly falling snow swirl in the orange-cast of parking lot sodium-vapor streetlights, and then wonder how many times in my lifetime I'll get to experience such a simple unmarked thing again. 5 times? 14 times? More than a hundred? Probably not.

I'm pretty sure that there's something about watching a child grow, and realizing how quickly that seems to happen that makes you stop and think for a moment about how much time - how many favorite experiences you'll be able to count, and count on having again.

On Sunday, the very first order of business was to go outside in the snow and play - Dear Alex had a little checklist: make snow angels, make a little snowman, go sledding.
All morning. Up the septic mound, down the septic mound. Up the septic mound, down the septic mound. Repeat. We had a very good time, and I noted that Alex has grown big enough to climb up and slide down all by herself, over and over again, though it's most fun for her when daddy sleds too. So I did, and I'm counting on doing that again. It makes her laugh to see me slide and fall in the snow, and it makes me happy to see her having so much fun. After a couple of hours of this, she abruptly stops - and runs into the house, having finally realized that she was freezing. Once inside and de-snowsuited and on the couch under a blanket with Beautiful Wife, I make her a warm cider and all is warm and cozy again. We decided then and there to stay in the snow another day. We took Monday off and instead of school for her and work for us, we went sledding again. It's one of those experiences worth counting.


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