Winter in Michigan is dazzling sunshine on crunchy snow and dreary days where exhaust from cars dulls the whiteness into gray. We spent much of last winter barricaded against the snow, my toddler unsteady on uneven terrain and irritated at the many times he ended up planted in his snow pants instead of rushing after his sister.
Part of me loved last winter. I love reading on the couch, curled in a blanket, and it didn’t bother me to trade out my favorite books for Fancy Nancy and Dr. Seuss. We made indoor forts and make-shift crafts and watched snow coat tree branches from our windows.
But not this winter.
Our weather has been surprisingly mild. It thrills me and disappoints my pint-size adventure seekers, who desperately want to make snowmen and snow forts.
One evening’s dusting left the first real hope of accumulation, but I rushed the kids to the car, errands ticking in my head.
They were undeterred by my words. They stomped around making footprints. They tucked their ungloved hands into their sleeves and gingerly kicked snow around until I plopped them into their car seats.
During lunch they slid off their chairs and drifted to the windows. Their eyes, sparkling blue in the reflection of the snow, tugged at the part of my memory that recalled snow as something more than wetness tracked onto floors and chubby toddler thighs wrestled into snow pants.
Watching Abbey press her nose against the glass as I read to Dylan before his nap, I knew where we’d be spending our afternoon.
As he slept, Abbey and I spoke in unnecessary whispers. We pulled boots and gloves and hats and snow pants from the deepest recesses of the closet, and I tried not to think about the hassle of sliding each little finger into the openings of their tiny gloves.
Dylan woke in his typical daze. Smilingly compliant, we added layers to layers and wandered into the snow.
Abbey took the lead, throwing herself to the ground in glee, making snow angels wherever she fell. Dylan watched, fascinated yet unsure, eventually lying beside her and staring uncomfortably at the sky until I pulled him back to standing.
I forgot to be cold.
I forgot my dinner timeline.
I forgot to remind Abbey that snow angels would be more comfortable on the grass than the driveway.
I forgot how difficult it would be to wrangle them inside when the light began to fade into dimness.
We played in the snow, and it was enough.