We had our first real snow in Chicago yesterday. It came late in the season, after shimmering Christmas lights had been taken down and stored away for next year. After the two-week winter break from school, a time when kids typically layer clothing and snowsuits to burrow in the snow, build forts, and come back in and sip steaming hot cocoa, had come and gone. Instead, my kids played outside with their neighbor friends during their time off in sweatshirts and light pants.
The snow started
mid-morning. I noticed it falling outside my kitchen window as I rinsed
out the breakfast dishes. It clung to the empty tree outside our living
room. I hurried to finish my chores and make my phone calls so that I
could cuddle up on the sofa with a cup of coffee and watch.
how a blanket of snow makes my surroundings beautiful and fresh. It
reminds me of beginnings. It reminds me of starting over. It reminds me
The snow is important to me because it was on such a
day that I first realized four years ago that I was head over heels in
love with my little girl who had been born with Down syndrome. Up until
that morning I had loved her for sure, but it was more of a duty. I
loved with fear. I loved at arms length.
But that morning; a
blanketed snow morning when Polly was a baby, she and I played on the
floor while the other girls were at school. We looked out the window and
watched the bits of cold and ice fall from the sky. She gave me a
million slobbery kisses and my heart cracked open with the most
unbelievable sunlight I could imagine. It reminded me of when Lucy steps
out of the wardrobe into Narnia for the first time.
And now every
year the first real snow fall is the closest thing to magic in my life.
When the ground is heavy with white I clear my calendar. I leave the
laundry for another day. I turn off the computer. I gather my children
to me and revel in their love. I thank God for cold places in my life
that warrant me the outside-of-myself ability to appreciate the warmth.
I am thankful for a blanket of snow.
(Please note: I have a new website: www.gillianmarchenko.com. Thanks!)