As the Snow Flies

As the Snow Flies

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

As the Snow Flies

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, then we aren’t really living.

Gail Sheehy

As the season’s first snow fell, I realized that my two-year-old daughter probably had no recollection of this fascinating occurrence from the first two winters of her life. With wide eyes, she looked out her bedroom window, delighted and intrigued, wanting to know where the snow was coming from, not able to stay still or listen long enough to hear the answer.

As is usual during the afternoons when just the two of us are home, I feel compelled to rush her to bed for her nap. Our lives have become so busy, and straying from our routine seems to send the rest of the day into upheaval. Without a lengthy nap, Elena has a difficult time making it through the day, and I had work deadlines to meet as well as the usual household chores. Tomorrow, I thought often, we’ll slow down. But along with each tomorrow comes a new set of tasks and priorities that can’t wait.

But today, I wanted to not care at all. The snow was falling, and as far as Elena could tell, it was an entirely new experience. She was fascinated by the large, fluffy flakes, and watched intently as each one fell diagonally and with great speed, settling on the trees, the rooftops, and the ground below.

We went into the living room and aimed a rocking chair toward the large glass door that overlooked the backyard. I found the melodic lullaby CD I used to play when she fell asleep for her nap. So many memories came flooding back as I remembered the music that was as much a part of our routine as feeding time. I remembered the baby she used to be.

We rocked in the chair, her head resting on my chest, as we watched the snow fall. I desperately hoped that I could remember this moment forever, or at least long enough to remember the importance of slowing down from time to time. I know children are adaptable, but I wondered why we need them to be so. Often when I play with my kids, I am struck by how simple it is to amuse them, how anything can be turned into an exciting game. A child’s first experience watching the snow fall should not be rushed, but savored and appreciated for the wonder and absolute joy it elicits.

As I held my daughter, who had nearly tripled in size since our earliest days together, I thought about the many changes that had transformed her from a tiny baby into such a delightful little girl, all of the changes that, incredibly, had happened right before my eyes. As I was reminiscing, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” began to play, and I remembered that, as a baby, she would usually be asleep by now. But instead, she lifted her head and insisted we sing together. I did, but stopped because I wanted to hear only her. I wanted to enjoy the adorable mispronunciations of a small child learning to speak, and relished how happily unaware she was that her words sounded different from mine.

I wondered how much of this music, if any, she recalled, and I smiled as I realized that, just as infants are soothed by the sounds heard while in the womb, I am comforted by the familiarity of this music that has transported me back to a time that now seemed a world away. A time before I had spent too many of our tomorrows on what might not have been a priority, after all.

That afternoon, a wonder of nature taught me a very important lesson about appreciating the simple things, because even though each and every winter has a first snow fall, there will never be another “first” snow fall for my little girl. And I will never forget, or regret, sharing it with her.

Paula McKee

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