I am smiling so much that my lips hurt.
It’s cold enough to snow, but the clouds insulate us. The air feels warm compared to yesterday when the frigid wind burned our faces.
Yesterday, the dog had been eager to go back inside. Tonight, the snow under his paws grants eternal youth, and Roscoe is magically transformed into the young pup who first encountered snow nine winters ago. He is running laps around the yard, scooping mouthfuls of snow in his mouth as he effortlessly executes turns at the fence. He kicks up snow like a jet’s vapor trail.
The backyard is dark, but light streams out from the kitchen windows. Philip pauses to watch snowflakes fall in the beams of light. He is smiling, too. After observing for a few moments, Philip grabs a handful of snow and tosses it in the air to watch how it falls.
Then Philip is scaling his cube climber again. I’m pleased to see this knowing that he craves the physical activity and that he hasn’t been getting enough these past few weeks.
Tonight, though, he soon abandons his climber for his swing set. At first, he methodically brushes the snow off the slide. Then he does the same with the seat of the swing. I see him hike his leg up to get on the swing. I go over.
“Let Mommy help,” I suggest. I know that the 2T-too-snug-for-a-four-year-old-but-please-last-the-winter snow bibs are affecting his flexibility. Plus, the ice-encrusted seat offers no traction to the polyester pants.
I lift him up onto the seat. He pumps his legs unevenly trying to gain momentum. I give him a push to help him along.
“Whee!” I say, just like I have a hundred times before.
It’s an appropriate response, but not the one I used to long for. How many times did I miss the joy of pushing him on the swings by pleading in my head, Please, please, please say it for Mommy. Say anything. Tonight, I don’t worry about it. I’m smiling so much that my cheeks hurt.
“Whee!” I say as I give another push. It’s a habit to exclaim this even though I no longer beg for a response.
And then it comes.
“Whee!” Philip says as he glides back and forth.
“Yes, yes!” I exclaim. “Whee!”
“Whee!” he repeats.
The dog, never wanting to be left out, barks at us. Philip laughs and says “Whee!” as I push him again. The dog dashes off and quickly races back to woof at us.
“Whee!” turns into a “Whoa!” as Philip slips off the icy swing. He falls in a pile of snow and laughter. He scrambles up, and I help him back onto the swing.
Even though it is warmer than yesterday, it is still cold outside. I know we should return to the warmth of the house, but I just don’t want this moment to end.
I’m smiling so much that my jaw hurts.
I’m linking up over at Yeah Write this week. Stop by to read some great stories.