Sunday, January 5, 2014

"Happy" and other Delightful Moments from a Snowy Day

Working together to free a car.
Today was a good day and I have to start with my favorite moment, even if it came towards bedtime.

Paul had made his way to Mass despite the storm and I was trying to get all three of the kids bathed and into their pajamas, while worrying about whether he'd made it safely the few blocks to our parish and whether or not we were going to lose power at any moment after seeing a warning from the power company that said that between the snow and winds lines may go down again in this storm.

I'd given Maggie her bath and was about to get her into her pajamas which I'd laid out on my bed when she crawled as fast as she could up to the pillows and slipped under the blankets, pulling them up to her chin and giggling hysterically.  I flopped down next to her and helped her tuck the blankets around her and I talked about how I needed to get her into her bed and we giggled and she looked at me with a huge smile and said "Happy!" four times over the course of the following minutes.

It's such a simple word.  It's probably not a huge deal when a lot of three and a half year olds say it.  And yet it made my entire day.

Babies planning to escape
into the snow.
Later I'd be out in the snow shoveling and trying to help Paul maneuver the car out of the ice and snow that it had become stuck on (and maybe scrapping the side of the van along  something big and immovable when I was attempting to get it out of the road... it's a good thing we have an old beat up van and it doesn't matter if it gets a few more dings!), but nothing could dim the happiness of hearing that word come bubbling out in her sweet little sing song voice.  Not the flu-turned-into-bronchitis (like clockwork!), not the possibility of lost power, not the impending final semester of law school.

The other amazing part of this day was watching people help each other.  Before Paul left for Mass I glanced out the window and saw that a car was stuck.  I ran to the stairs and called up to Paul and he said he'd be right down.  By the time he pulled on his boots to go outside another neighbor had picked up a shovel and headed out into the cold and together they worked to shovel and push and pull and free the car from the place where it had been stuck.

Later when our van was stuck in a back alley in the dark, I was certain that we were on our own.  Within a few minutes though three neighbors, two who we'd never met, showed up with shovels and began shoveling and pushing and pulling the van and within about five minutes it was freed.  I don't think we would have gotten it to budge on our own (the wheels were free but the bottom was solidly stuck on the ice).

Deeper snow a couple hours after Paul headed to Mass
If there's been a theme for this year so far for me it's that I have been amazed by the kindness and generosity of everyone around me.

Outside the snow is still coming down.  It's up to my knees in places.  I was actually shocked by how deep it was.  I'd expected to walk out and help Paul free the car in a few minutes and thought I'd be on my way (I was still in my pjs and a sweater, I hadn't even put a jacket on).  But the snow is definitely piling up much faster than I thought when I was watching it through the window and within moments of stepping outside it was going over the tops of my boots.

I can hardly wait to see what the world will look like in the morning!


  1. Happy! How I wait for that word to come from my son's lips without being prompted! The only time he says it is when I ask if mommy is happy or sad. About 50% of the time he's actually right. Congratulations on something so big... being told your child is happy is on par with hearing them say they love you for the first time- that happened for me on his third birthday a month ago!

    1. I'm soooooo eagerly awaiting "love you!" She has said "yeah, yeah, yeah" in a happy voice when I say love you to her, but she hasn't said it yet!

  2. Oh, was a sweet baby she is! I know she's having a tough time until she learns to talk in sentences to communicate, but to let you know a warm bath and snuggling under Mommy and Daddy's blankets makes her happy, that home makes her happy, that she feels loved and happy! Wow! How great is that!
    When I was a kid, neighbors helping during the winter was just standard. Really. I grew up (and still live in) Chicago in a family of 5 boys and me, a girl. When we'd get heavy snows and people would get stuck, my dad and my brothers would all pull on their boots and coats and hats and gloves and go out and shovel and push people out. Back then the city never plowed the side streets, and after a few snows the ice would build up on the street in ruts to 3 or 4 inches thick. Fresh snow on top of that made it impossible to get out of being stuck. I never questioned that my dad and brothers did that. I just thought it was how it was supposed to be. Other neighbors did it too. Often someone on the block would shovel others' walks, especially if older people lived there. It's not as friendly anymore, but still, there are still some people that will sometimes shovel the walks. What you experienced is how it used to be. It's a wonderful feeling when you're helplessly stuck, and all of a sudden two or three people appear because they heard the familiar sound of spinning tires outside and just came to help. God bless 'em. ~ Bonnie

    1. I've seen people shoveling neighbors out (and someone even did that here too!)! It's one of the things that definitely makes me feel more warmly about our neighborhood!


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