Did you grow up where there was snow in the winter? I did.
I remember spending about twenty minutes getting ready to go outside. The turtleneck then the sweater. Two pairs of socks pulled up as high as you could get them so they wouldn’t fall inside your boots. Pulling on the long johns that went under the corduroy pants, that somehow got forced into bib overall snow pants. And then the scarf – handmade by your grandma with itchy acrylic yarn from Ben Franklin and the matching mittens that were held together with a long chain stitch string of yarn. Finally, a hat and then the jacket with the hood pulled up.
It was a miracle that we could walk. I can picture my brother in his navy blue snow pants and Green Bay Packers hat pulling the red plastic sled behind him up the hill while the snow fell quietly.
A few times up and down the sledding hill was about all I could take before heading back inside. Because back inside was hot chocolate and peanut butter toast. And THAT was what I wanted.
So you pulled off all of the pieces of clothing that you painstakingly put on earlier and realized that you were soaked right down to the skin. I never understood that about snow pants. Weren’t they supposed to keep you dry?
I didn’t care then. I ran into the kitchen, cheeks pink from the cold winter air, in my long johns and turtleneck and sat at the table waiting for my winter snack. My hair, wild with static from pulling off the hat was pushed out of my eyes as I took the first cautious sip of the hot chocolate. We made it with milk and melted coco – none of this powdered stuff they have today. It was creamy and smelled like heaven. My mom would make the toast and cut it into three almost even strips. Perfect size for dipping into my warm drink.
I would sit at our kitchen table like that – looking out the window at the big white flakes – and I was happy. I didn’t know that there would be days that I wouldn’t be. I didn’t know that there would be days that the idea of getting out of bed – let alone dressed for a snowy day – would be too much for me.
So today, I had a snow day. I know it wasn’t quite the same as when I was kid, but I looked over my laptop and saw giant snowflakes and ran to get my boots. The playing was different, I didn’t have a sled, but the being outside was the same. There is peace in it. It felt good.
And when I came inside and had to strip down to the soaking leggings under my pants, I remembered what it felt like to be a child. To not have a care. To look into the mirror and see my messy hair after I pulled my hat off, the pink cheeks from the cool air, and the smile that was on my face as I made myself a cup of creamy coffee. And I promised myself I would try and tap into that feeling more often.