It was snowing sideways in icy sharp arrows. You had to blink often or get stung in the eyes. Muffled sounds, signs of life far away, stacks prolonged in smoky tongues meeting with low-hanging clouds, cars that stop short, afraid of white and dark combined.
We walked to the park, dragging purple sleds, snow-filled boots… wait, already?
The park snoozes under thick snow. More coming. We’re wrapped up in snowflakes and tumbles – wild boys, and fragmented thoughts of a long day – mama.
We made it here late, borderline bedtime, but it had to happen… I guiltily wanted tired children and droopy eyes so I said yes to pleads of sledding.
‘Mom, he doesn’t want to play my game…’
‘Because you put snow in my mouth, that’s why!’
The tumultuous world of boys, laughter and fighting landing in a pile of arms and legs and there’s no time to scold because things are patched up by the time I get there.
‘Wanna do double sleds?’ There’s no stopping them or entering their world. When big people do so, they have to leave all big-world thoughts behind, sublime and conditional at the same time. And worth it… But now it’s all tangled up, thoughts and worries and changes ahead.
I envy their irreverent fun, all the ‘so what if that’s not allowed I’ll try it anyway and taste the no up-close,’ they do that with each other, testing boundaries, testing patience and saying I did not mean to.
I want them like that, free to tumble. Free to laugh and say no, and ask for endless sled rides down icy hills, past bedtime and deeply immersed in being children, boys lost in precious childhood.
Time for bed, we trail home, purple sleds and wet mitts and snowy hats.
Snuggle in bed… remember to be grateful, what are you grateful for… We say prayers for all whom we love, for all who cannot hear us and for all who need one tonight.
Then again, the hardest question pops up and my eyes become squished lines…’Mom, can I be stuck at being seven forever?’
Head full of soft, long hair, smelling sweet, trying to imprint the smell in every part of my brain. To remember…
No, you can’t ask that… Because I want it too much too… But I don’t say it.
‘No you cannot, I wish you could… but you can save some of that forever in your heart…’
‘I don’t want to grow up…’ he snuggles close, maybe it’ll happen?
I feel ashamed for all the times I said the same, not an ounce of grown-up me seeping into that absurd request…I don’t want that either… Be joyful, never be afraid of life. I want to say it but I don’t. One day I will…
Snuggle some more, ruffled long hair against pillows and stuffed otter, smelling sweet… here to stay, mine…
Good night, sleep tight…
But my wishes for sleepy droopy eyelids do not come true. I leave the room with a trail of sounds and whines… There’s itchy noses, itchy elbows and that itchy spot behind the knees and all the noises a nose can make the nose makes them, so annoying, and the comforter is too hot… what a silly name for something that annoys him so…
Two wild boys, one already slipping into growing up, still hugging and wide-eyed, one clinging to every bit of sweetness that he himself brings about… Nighttime whines included.
Snowfall stops, house is quiet… Late night, no more clinging, itchiness gone, boundaries back in place until tomorrow when they’ll be pushed again… And again.
Never stop… never grow up… My eyes will be wide open tonight, no droopiness until I say out loud what I am grateful for. Again. To know, to never give in to rushing them… I promise. To make every itchy knee count.
To listen, to love, to hug… A promise…