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My big girl (then little) all bundled up.

My big girl (then little) all bundled up.

Here in New York we’re hearing rumors of a giant, paralyzing (yes, a newscaster actually used that word) snowstorm coming our way. Giant. I think I am in the minority when I say I am actually really excited about it, even though I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet except for what I’ve bought for my own girls. I need to get cracking, yes, but I will gladly rush around like crazy on Tuesday or Wednesday if it means I get to go sledding with my family this weekend. The reason: Some of my best memories — my favorite memories — are of playing in the snow with my sister when I was a little girl.

Back when I was a child (when we only had 30 or so channels on television and the cable remote actually had a wire connecting it to the set top box), my mom never let us spend a snow day in the house. Instead, she would bundle us up and throw us outside as soon as there was a sprinkling of white on the ground. We needed the fresh air, she said. So that’s why you’d find us — as the snow came down outside — putting plastic bags over our shoes so our feet would slide right into our boots, tying scarves around our necks, and putting on our ear muffs. We needed to be really warm for what was to come: Usually hours and hours of playing in the snow.

As soon as we were properly ensconced in our winter finery, my mom would send us outside where we would almost immediately start making angels in the snow. Carefully falling backwards onto the untouched front lawn, we’d move our arms and legs, carving out wings and a dress. Then we would get up carefully, jumping out of our own snow shadows so the angels left behind were as perfect as we could make them. We’d repeat this over and over until there wasn’t a single patch of virgin snow left. Next, we built our forts. We piled mounds and mounds of snow together until it was three or four feet tall, and used our mittened hands to dig out a cave. We’d keep digging until we could see the brown of the frozen earth and the yellowed green of the crumpled grass beneath. We were pretty good at it, often making snow forts big enough to hold two or three or even four kids. Then we’d sit inside, catching a second wind. Snowball fights came next. Sometimes, my mom or older brother would come outside and pull us on the sled. It was always fun being able to walk around the block to the school and throw snowballs at the red brick facade. If the streets were drivable, we might even head over to Cedar Creek Park where we would sled down hills at breakneck speed over and over again.

No matter where we ended up, though, we wouldn’t go inside until we couldn’t feel our fingers and toes or it got dark — whichever came first. But even though our time in the snow ended, the fun continued when we made it into the house. We’d come inside, stopping in the hall to peel off all our layers, placing our our wet clothes by the hissing radiator. Then, noses and cheeks pink and shiny, we’d cluster around the kitchen table drinking hot cocoa and taking in the smells of dinner, which was always cooking by that time. It would be so peaceful. Sometimes, we were even lucky enough that it would start snowing again so we could watch the giant puffs of flakes fall past the kitchen window. Just reminiscing takes me right back. It’s almost like I am back on Princeton Drive South. The chair below me so large, the worn metal of my hot cocoa spoon crisscrossed with scratches from Brillo pads. My toes stinging as they warm up and dry out. What I wouldn’t give to be eight again!

But I’m not, and I can’t go back. I am forced to live vicariously through my kids. So that’s why this weekend my girls will experience some of the same favorites I enjoyed way back when. That’s why I am hoping and praying for a white Christmas. Go ahead, Facebook friends, gripe and complain about the snow and the cold. But me, I say bring on the snow, Mr. Weatherman. I’ve got memories to create.

What’s your favorite winter memory? Are you trying to give your kids similar experiences? Let’s hear about it!

2 Responses to “Favorite Things Friday: Snow Edition”

  1. Jen Haupt says:

    Oh, you’re making me so jealous! I’m so dreaming of white Christmas instead of yucky rain. Peace – Jen (in Seattle)

  2. Shari says:

    I also remember making forts with my brother and “selling” icicles to the few passer-bys (dead end streets didn’t get too many!). Now my kids are little so I take them out for the half hour that I can bear in the freezing snow. Last year I even went inside to check on the baby and let my son stay by himself in the backyard. It was fun to watch a 5 year old through the kitchen window, entertain himself and enjoy the snow. I will definitely send my kids out for a good time when they are old enough to go by themselves, because as for me, I am happy inside where it is warm!

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