At the end of a magical Christmas, it snowed. While we slept, the snow softly blanket the lawn, the house, the roads, our cars. We woke to pristine, glistening, breathtaking beauty all around us. I’ve always loved that verse in Isaiah 1, “‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…(emphasis mine, v.18).'” As a matter of fact, any time the writers of scripture wanted their readers to understand WHITE—immaculate, pure, glowing, even blinding white—they almost always referred to snow to get their point across. Christ, in His glory, is nearly always described this way. In Revelation 1, John describes seeing Him with hair “as white as snow” and eyes “like blazing fire (v.14),” a vision certainly worthy of a winter day. I love the way the snow erases everything and robes it in sparkling beauty.
The saying is true: children keep us young. While all 5 adults in our house the day after Christmas would’ve been content to curl up under blankets in the living room, sip our hot chocolate, and just gaze out the windows, our children woke with a much different agenda. All morning, Riley worried that the snow would melt before she made it outside to play in it. She hoped for sledding, even more so than ever because her grandparents were here and she could not wait to see them fly down the hill laughing. At the very least, she was dying to do what she always does when frozen precipitation of any kind appears outside: she wanted to EAT some. While Adam has always been afraid to taste and feel things on his tongue, Riley has always been a bit overeager in that department.
As a chunky-cheeked, curly-headed toddler, I thought I would never get her to stop chewing things. She tested everything with her mouth obsessively, compulsively, maddeningly. Even the most disgusting things—once the mop, I kid you not—wound up between her teeth. Fortunately at ten, her obsession has rooted itself in more appropriate things like gum. You’ve never seen a kid more delighted with her own pack of chewing gum! One of my dearest friends, having discovered this secret, almost always brings all of our kids gum when she comes over to visit. They all, but especially Riley, think she is fantastic.:) This winter, one of my good friends shook with laughter as I elucidated never, ever eat yellow snow for Riley after catching her trying to snack on some ice that had been on the ground in the school yard already for several days. So, you can imagine how excited Riley was when Mom made “snow cream” for her with milk, vanilla, sugar, and clean snow after we came inside—a rare snow day favorite I remember loving in my own childhood.
Alas, the snow just wasn’t right for sledding that day. We bundled up (I think I had 5 layers. I’m a summer girl. I don’t like to be cold.) and the kids tried, but when Riley’s sled just sunk in the powder, she gave up and started munching ice, still planted in the same spot. The snow was deep for us—at least 7-inches—and perfect for snowballs but not ideal for the sled. We heard repeated declarations of disappointment, that is, until the snowball fight.
I think Dad and I started it, molding snowballs and plunking them at each other and the kids. Kevin walked around taking all these great photographs, and Opa worked out front scraping off windshields. At one point, Dad accidentally aimed too high and Zoe took one in the face. Her loose-fitting hat slipped off into the snow and she burst into tears, but she later apologized for losing her cool when she realized it had been an accident. It helped, too, that Papa gave her his hat and I wrapped one of my scarfs tightly around her nose and mouth. Adam enjoyed falling down more than throwing the snowballs, though he threw several. Every time one of us would catch him in the chest or the arm, he would dramatically, but carefully, land on his back.
When Opa finally made his way to the back yard, he had his cell phone pressed to his ear. We joked with him all weekend about all of his phone-talking. For a preacher headed toward retirement, he appears to have quite the busy social life. Seeing him trudging toward us that way gave someone the idea: an ambush. All of us, including the kids, secretly molded and held snowballs, ready to fire them at Opa when he finished his call. Then someone else (who shall remain nameless:)) said, “Why are we waiting on him to finish his call?! That might be a while.” So, on the whispered count of 3, we pelted Opa. Surprised doesn’t quite seem to describe it. The only thing is, Opa’s had a little more snowball fighting experience than the rest of us, and as the free-for-all broke out, we all discovered he can dish it out as well as he can take it.:) By the time our snowball fight ended, we were breathless. Laughing and tired, we all headed inside, shedding our coats and layers. You know, it’s interesting: hot chocolate tastes even better after a snowball fight.