I went out the other evening to pick up my daughter from her team practice. It was snowing, though with the winter we’re having, I prefer not to acknowledge snow. I will admit, however, that it is beautiful when it is falling, even when the snow banks are already eight feet high and the grass may not reappear until July.
When I arrived in the parking lot, the carpool had not yet gotten back from the gym. I rolled down my window to talk to another mom, and her young son opened the back window and began playing with the snow that was gathering on the car. “What’s that?” I asked him.
“Snow,” he responded.
“No,” I shook my head. “There’s no more snow. That’s bugs. They’re spring bugs.”
“It’s snow,” he told me without a hint of question in his voice.
“It’s little tiny bugs. Lots and lots of them. Those bugs only come out in the spring.”
He shook his head. “No. It’s snow,” he said, and he rolled up the window. Clearly, he was done with my silliness, and he didn’t need me to change what he already knew.
My daughter arrived, and she immediately hung her head out the window to catch some big, juicy snowflakes on her tongue before we drove off. “Can you put on your high beams when we get to the back road?” she asked, settling back in to her seat. The snow was lazy, but steady as the car pulled out of the parking lot.
I smiled to myself. “I’ll try,” I told her, not making any promises. I never knew how the traffic would be, but the back road was usually not heavily traveled at this time of night.
When we turned onto the back road, she was disappointed to see there was a car ahead of us. I slowed down and the car pulled ahead and disappeared around a bend. I flipped on my high beams while I had a chance. The snow took on a life of its own, speeding toward our windshield like stars whizzing by a spaceship.
As we traveled down the road, the snow suddenly stopped; then a few feet later, it started back up again, like we had driven through a brief tunnel or a hole in the cloud.
An amazed exclamation of “Whoa!” escaped from my daughter. Her word, her tone of wonder, were perfectly synchronized with my own thoughts. The break in the snow was so unexpected, so incredible, so wonderful, “Whoa!” was a perfect reaction.
To share a moment of natural wonder with one of my children is always special. The fact that her outer reaction exactly mimicked my inner reaction let me know that somehow, as I have parented her through so many every day moments, I have taught her to appreciate the ordinary wonders in life.