Sometime in the night, it started snowing. I wish I would have witnessed it—the snow falling in the dark. Sometimes that hush wakes me up, but I slept soundly last night. It came silently and we woke to snow. Not an enormous storm, just three or four inches, but enough that we needed to shovel. Kendell needed to be to work as early as he could, and Nathan had an early-morning PT appointment, so I hurried through the breakfast prep and then bundled up to shovel.
It was still falling, just a little, and the light was just on the brink—somewhere behind the clouds, the sun was just about to rise, but it was still just a little bit dark. Just enough that the falling snow could still sparkle in whatever light it could find.
We shoveled silently together, Kendell and I. Just the scrape of the shovel and the very faint sound of snow hitting my coat. I was thinking, while we worked, of how good a simple pleasure it was: shoveling snow. Breathing in fresh air, working our bodies, doing something productive. Being here, taking care of our own place that we love. This place with so many memories. That moment: that is love to me. That is what matters.
Then Kendell said “I want to move somewhere it never snows, this is miserable.” And I laughed long and hard, because that is our relationship, right there. Me trying to savor and find something lovely, him being practical.
We finished the driveway and the sidewalks (we live on a corner lot, so we have a lot of sidewalk). We cleaned off Jacob’s car, and then Kendell took Nathan to PT for me, so I didn’t have to drive in the snow. Kaleb came out, dressed (in shorts, I’ve given up that fight!) and ready for school, but more than a little bit disappointed that all of the snow was already shoveled.
So I gave him the other shovel and we cleared off our neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk. We talked while we worked: about the girl he has a crush on and how he found out she is adopted, so then we talked about adoption. We talked about spelling words and his essay for social studies (which he had to re-write after the school computer he was working on crashed) and how sad he was that he won’t be able to play soccer at recess today (too much snow). We talked about some friends he’s been having friend trouble with.
We talked about how to shovel snow.
We finished up the neighbor’s yard just when Kaleb’s ride to school got here, so I hugged him goodbye and sent him on his way.
Mornings like these: this is what I love. This is happiness. Just spending time doing something with my family. This is what I want to savor. This is what I hope I always remember. This, to me, is the very definition of a good life.
Sometimes when I find myself in the middle of such happiness, I get a little bit afraid. I worry that it is the calm before some dreadful storm. But then I take a deep breath and remind myself I can’t control the storms. They come, silently or ferociously, and all I can do is deal with them. All I can do is keep looking for and savoring what is lovely, no matter the storm. All I can do is talk, or work in companionable silence. All I can do is love them as much as I can, these people life has given me.