During the entire time I lived in Bryan–over thirty years–I rarely heard those words. It just doesn’t snow that often in Texas, and south of some imaginary horizontal line through Dallas, snow is an even more remarkable event. That night, Mom didn’t have to tell me twice to get up. I slung off the covers and donned my warmest clothes quicker than she could say “Jack Frost.”
Daddy was working out of town, and I don’t remember where my brother was, but Mama and I went outside and joined the rest of the neighborhood kids awakened by the quiet magic of snow. To anyone who’s accustomed to the stuff, we were a pathetic sight–makeshift toboggans half-sliding, half-pushed down slight inclines that were hills only to those too little to know the difference; sorry excuses for snowmen stained by the mixture of snow and mud and standing a whopping three feet high; pebble-sized snowballs tossed from garrisons of hedges instead of snow forts. There just wasn’t enough to do anything in grand style.
Mom pulled her old ice skates down from their hiding place in the storeroom and told me to try them on. The blades were dull and I’d never skated before in my short life, but I put them on and stood on wobbling ankles while Mom tried to teach me how to skate on the frozen street in front of our house. Once I could at least stand on them without flailing like a drunk on a slippery slope, she tied a sturdy rope to the bumper of the car and pulled me up and down the road. In my mind, I was Peggy Flemming winning the gold. In reality, I was lucky to still be upright on the skates while Mom pulled me at an idling speed. Of course, the weight of the car ruined our icy surface so we discarded the skates.
Around two in the morning, Mom invited all the kids in for hot chocolate and marshmallows. One of the young men from across the street brought his guitar, and we sang Christmas carols even deeper into the night. For that one evening, we were the coolest folks in the neighborhood.
This memory of mine is around forty years old, and it’s one of many I pull out of its chamber whenever Mom needs to be reminded that she was a good mother. These special times, these God-given moments to create memories, should never be squandered. Every good parent is aware of the mistakes they make in parenting, but times like these can topple a mountain of errors.