Being an Iowa native, I am not unaware of just how LONG a winter can feel, even if the first snowfall doesn't arrive until after the Thanksgiving turkey has been carved. While we have four seasons in the beautiful Midwest, winter seems to last twice as long as all the others. And though snowstorms are the stuff of which that great childhood memories are made, my "grown up mind" has not forgotten the April ice storms that served as a prison sentence inside the wind-slapped walls of my home with a 3 month old colic baby in 2007. Or the long spell of no-school snow days at the dawn of the new year that drove me to blow up our inflatable pool, set it in the storage room and fill it bucket by bucket with bath water in an attempt to survive yet another endless day inside with four restless children. Now that I'm a parent, it seems that for every wave of winter nostalgia, I have a corresponding ripple of winter nausea.
But today the snowfall was light. The windchill was moderate, and the choice was mine. Would I delight in the thrill of the first snowfall- despite its unseasonable appearance- or brood over the fact that the calendar reads October 10? Would I pull out the snow boots and scarves and challenge the kids to catch a few fluffy flakes on their tongues, or bemoan the mess that was sure to follow when the mud-and-snow-covered boots trampled back through the house? For just one moment, the woman in me who looks too far ahead nearly ruined the excitement of the unexpected. But then, a long-ago-memorized Bible verse pushed that winter nausea out of the way and invited me to enjoy the nostalgic glee of winter's first kiss. With Matthew 6:34 running through my mind- “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries"- I slipped on my coat and ran outside to scoop a few handfuls of snow and throw them at my giggling children. It was a tiny act of faith, but it was a start!
After breakfast we grabbed the sugar cookie dough that had been set aside for making pumpkin cookie cut-outs and we hauled out the snow man cookie cutter as well. The flour that covered my youngest ones mimicked the snowfall outside and the smiles that frosted their faces were sweeter than the frosting we spread once the cut-outs had cooled. After topping the cookies with snow-white icing and sprinkling pumpkin confetti on top, we arranged our creations on a plate and unveiled our winter October scene: snowmen in the pumpkin patch! With a satisfied sigh, Hannah pointed out that the snowmen were even cooler than scarecrows. And I agreed.