Monday, December 13, 2010

Nothing like a snow storm

When my kids were school age, a snow storm always began with the hope that Lakeville schools would close. That would lead to cries of disappointment and frustration as they watched the school alerts go from the letter L to N announcing, New Prague School Closed. Not Lakeville Schools however, never Lakeville according to my children. Even more annoying was that they had to go to school knowing their cousins living in New Prague had the day off, but not them.

Finally home from school backpacks were set aside, replaced with the proper outdoor gear required for playing in the snow. The best was when there was enough snow for the plowing professionals (actually our wonderful neighbors) to pile the snow near our house, making the perfect spot for sliding and snow fort construction.

A picture of Michael that sits on my desk holds a precious memory of him in the snow. The picture was taken a snowy December similar to the one we are having now. My husband was outside clearing snow off the driveway and Michael was with him, as usual. Michael was playing in the snow pile directly in front of the kitchen window, perfect for me to keep an eye on him while I was preparing supper. I remember thinking how odd his bright green wheelchair looked as it sat abandoned next to the snow he was playing in. I hadn’t seen the orange ball of his winter hat pop up and down for a few minutes so I opened the front door and called his name. Out of the snow popped his sweet face all covered with snow. With a big grin he yelled, “Here I am Mom, I’m digging a tunnel.”

In that moment, Michael didn’t have a rare disease. He didn’t need to use his wheelchair. He was just a boy playing in the snow. I stood by the door a few more minutes debating with him about the time he should come in for supper. He was wishing he could stay outside just a little bit longer and I was wishing his life could always be that simple.

Waking up Saturday morning to the blustery snow storm, I thought about the excitement my kids would have had regarding this big storm, especially if it wasn’t on the weekend. This time even Lakeville would have surely cancelled school. I gazed at the picture of Michael in the snow tunnel he dug in December 2003. Memories of the simplicity in that evening came rushing in, as well as, thoughts about the complexity in his young life back then, which seemed to crowd the memory. Painful dialysis had just begun and a kidney transplant loomed on the horizon. Life in a wheelchair, especially during the winter, was added to the list of challenges he faced.

There’s nothing like a snow storm, which comes blowing in without permission changing plans, canceling school events, and altering the busy holiday season. Another perspective provides us with an opportunity to create your own tunnel either in the snow or to your soul. Enclosed by the stillness of a blizzard day, you find solace there. Whatever your tunnel, know it can hold you joyfully captive, even for just a little while, by the simplest of pleasures winter weather has to offer.

Put value in moments rather than months; an excellent way to Be the Change.

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