The streets are beginning to look like they’re paved again. Slushy pockets of stubborn snow are filthy brown reminders of the weekend weather system that shut us down. The sidewalks, poorly shoveled two days ago, are finally open passages wide enough to walk through. It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do.
Nevertheless, the county texted that we’d not be returning to work or school this week. I’m counting it a blessing because, though I’m feeling a little confined in my home, I didn’t have the needed money to cover day care. Payday is days away and the school won’t take an “I owe you,” no matter how trustworthy or social I am.
The kids and I found our escape outside. We discovered the owner of the discarded sled had not returned to claim it. And though not as slick and compacted as it was a day or so ago, the snow track beckoned. We simply could not resist responding.
Ya – dubbed TACO by his big sister – preferred to speed his slide by folding up the sled and reclining. He definitely traveled further and faster than the girls.
Ri tried her hand at riding, feeling confident as she was cheered along the track. Ya and Chi spotted her all the way down, quickly clutching her when the sled gained too much momentum, or she leaned over zealously to one side. She bumped off the disc a few times, whimpering to quell sibling simpathy (and then dramatically cutting short her cries with a flippant hand and a giggle). She scrunched her nose, pursed her lips, pointed, commanded, and pretended to stifle laughs with her tiny hands covering her mouth.
And my lovely Chi, in her carefully coordinated outfit, dangling earrings, and burgundy glossed lips, was ready for… the public. She spent much of her slide without the sled, quickly dampening her jeans and chilling her behind into numbness. But I saw her let loose. She dropped the teen pretentiousness and enjoyed the fleeting snow. She laughed. She cheered. She protected. She challenged. She determined – with a clenching of bared teeth and piercing gaze – to sled the furthest. She landed in the plant stalks and puddles with gusto.
Then, as I squatted to find the perfect angle for my shots, I pulled a muscle when my leg slid away from me on slick snow. I fought to jump away from careening kids as the drew quicker to me than I anticipated. And I remembered the sneakers I’d chosen had air holes that welcomed wet and cold.
These unscheduled days together are the ones I’ll cherish.