We had over 6 inches of snow last night, which a lot of snow for our little town of Tullahoma, Tennessee. As we sat at the dining table with our morning coffee, Mike and I watched the dogs romp through the vast whiteness of our back yard. Mike commented that we would have to wipe their paws off before they came in.
“At least I don’t have to find coats and gloves and hats for them,” I replied, “or shoes,” at which point we began laughing at a shared memory.
“Mama! Mama! Mama! It’s snowed!”
It was early December 1988 and Lubbock, Texas had its first snow of the winter. Our kids – 5 year old Rachael, Josh and Anna, our twins who were nearly 3, and Bethany, who was 15 months - stared wide-eyed at the snowy back yard and begged to go outside.
Anyone with children realized the challenge of getting four youngsters dressed for snow; for me, it was compounded by the fact that I was recovering from giving birth to our youngest daughter, Mary, who was three weeks old. However, I was an old softie and couldn’t resist the power of four sets of blue eyes gazing up at me.
I began digging through their closets and drawers, pulling out mismatched mittens and gloves, knitted hats and scarves, thick pants and sweaters, boots and coats. Then came the ordeal of dressing the kids. While I worked on each child, the other three ran around the house, looking for sand pails and shovels, carrots for a snowman’s nose, and lids from the trashcan to sled on.
Thirty minutes later, they were ready, toys in hand, to go face their own winter wonderland.
“I don’t want you coming back in a few minutes, telling me you’re ready to come inside” I told them, unlocking the sliding glass door so they could waddle outside. “Stay outside for a while.”
I checked on little Mary – who was still sleeping – and poured a cup of hot tea. I sat down with a sigh, revealing in the knowledge that I was a good mommy and this would be a day for making memories.
One sip of tea later, there was a tap on the glass door. I looked over, to see Joshua standing there. I couldn’t believe it; I had spent all that time looking for their winter stuff, getting them dressed, and now he was ready to come back in?
I tromped to the back door and slid it open a crack. “Joshua!” I huffed. “What do you want? You just went outside.”
My little boy shivered, “My toes are cold,” he said.
Looking down, I saw he was standing in the snow…in his socks.
I had dressed him – and his sisters – in warm pants, sweaters, socks, gloves, hats, coats and scarves – and I forgot to put Joshua’s boots on him.
I was right; that was a day for making memories. Even though Joshua is nearly 25 years old, we always laugh when we have a snow. And then I pause to recall how , even now I go through so much effort, trying to get ready for something in my life – be it big or small – and forget the simple basics.
Paula K. Parker