There is something magical about experiencing something for the first time. No matter what your age. Whether you’re a baby tasting your first food. A child learning to write their name, or an adult going on an aeroplane for the first time. It’s the same surge of adrenaline mixed with anticipation of the unknown. Hoping that it is everything you had imagined and that your imagination hasn’t over hyped said occasion. As a child, the anticipation of something new is exciting and longed for. It’s part of their every day. Especially as a baby. Whereas us adults are much more reluctant to put ourselves (and our emotions) on the line and take the risk of experiencing the unknown. As we grow older we are more reserved. What happened to our inner child? Why do we suppress it? One things for sure. Life would be much more fun if we let our inner child out once in a while and throw ourselves into the excitement of the new!…
One Sunday morning in December I awoke to the high-pitched screams of my son. Thinking he was just having his usual ‘feed me’ argument, I rolled over and decided to ignore it, hoping for a few more minutes in bed. However, the screams got louder until they were on top of me, shouting at me “snow, snow, Mummy snow”. He stood up and started jumping repeating the phrase. “Snow, snow, Mummy snow!”. Opening my eyes, I realised what was happening. Tommy has never seen ‘real’ snow before. Never in his four years has he felt the cold touch of snow, seen the white blanketing effect on the ground or made a snow man. Each year it saddens me to tell him that we just don’t get snow here, using the phrase “maybe next year” an awful lot. Hence why I never believed the weather report, never trusted my husband’s prediction and brushed off my son’s longings for a few more minutes that morning.
He was right though. There was snow. As I drew the blind and we sat together on the bed. The full force of a glistening blanket of snow was before us. “Snow, snow, Mummy snow”. He wasn’t wrong, he was right. 100% right. In the time, it took for my brain to register what was happening. Tommy was up off the bed, dragging me down the stairs and forcing me to help him put his wellingtons on. Instant flash backs to my childhood was being played over and over in my brain. Of a childhood gone by with my siblings in the snow.
Images of three lined up snow men displayed on the garden. In order of size, as we were. Soft, water-drenched mittens clung to our cold hands and tufts of our un-brushed hair popped out from the hoods of our coats. I don’t remember what was said between my siblings and I. I don’t remember building those snow men. I just remember the feelings. The feeling of joy. The feeling of the bitter coldness. The feeling of excitement and the feeling of wearing my pyjamas outside under my coat. My nose was ice cold to touch and my eyes watered with the brush of the cold wind on my face. Yet I don’t remember stopping, complaining or fussing. I remember playing, running and laughing in the whiteness that surrounded us.
Back in kitchen with Tommy and Emme, after downing my lemon tea. We began to get suited and booted in preparation for the snow. The joy growing and excitement surrounding us as we all stuffed our pyjamas into coats, waterproofs, wellingtons and gloves. A continual tradition from my childhood played out in my new reality. As I opened the back door onto our crisp white garden, I took a moment in my mind to capture and remember. Like the record button on my camera. I hypothetically pressed down on a record button in my brain, longing the moment to fit securely in a ‘treasured moment’ box for eternity.
Tommy was first. Straight out into the powered sensation under foot. Stomping, running and jumping in the ‘new’. He was also the first to bend down and scope the snow up into his gloves, compressing it into a ball and throw it with force in the direction of his Daddy, who was armed and ready in return. The father, son snow ball throwing had begun. Tommy desperate to collect them quicker and Daddy desperate to throw them the furthest.
Emme, on the other hand stood, quite politely where Daddy had left her and took in her surroundings. Unsure of the joyous event. Half amused, half confused, half freezing cold by the look of her! She stood for quite some time, taking in her surroundings with her usual look of concern and uncertainty. Not confident enough to bend down to touch the snow, not secure enough to take a step. She reached for my hand and up she came. Safe in my arms to observe. That was Emme’s experience of snow. Love her. Maybe slightly too little and unsteady on her feet for the ‘new’ snow covered surfaces. Her decision had been made. Much safer to watch from a safe distance. From the snow and fresh snowballs flying in various directions.
Nonetheless, Tommy was in his element. Fully throwing himself into exploring, playing and building. Just like myself as a child, un-phased by the brush of the cold wind, the wet of his drenched gloves. The smile on his face said it all. Joy. Pure joy and intense excitement for this ‘new’ experience.
What is it about snow, that brings out our inner child? Myself and Craig took it in turns showing our little ones our ‘snow knowledge’ and ‘tips for survival’ when playing in the snow. Craig showed Tommy how to rolls snow, crunching it together to make a snow man. He showed him how to use both hands to make the snow balls round and better yet how to aim them at Grampy’s car and fire them at people! I suppose I should be grateful he didn’t teach him how to put the snow down the back of someone’s coat or tip the snow balls with stones. Knowledge saved for future snow fun. As well as this, I taught Tommy how to make a snow angel. Something I don’t think he expected his Mummy to do. The look on his face when I laid flat in the snow was a picture. Of course, my Mummy-sensibilities also kicked in. Instructing him to stay warm and not to throw the snow balls in my direction.
It turned out that ‘Snow’ was the secret to unlocking your inner child. The secret to reliving your youth and showing my little ones the joy we once experienced. However, I think snow has more to answer for than just that. Yes, it unlocked the door to a childhood gone by. But it also made us ‘grumpy’, ‘stressed out’, ‘busy’ adults relax…and play. Something we, as grown-ups rarely do! I can’t tell you how often the phrase “hold on a minuet” or “not right now” comes out of my mouth on a daily basis. Horrifically in the direction of my little ones. Even the baby gets it a few times a day. But the snow stopped ‘adultness’ right in its tracks. From the moment, I opened the curtains and left the house in my pyjamas my inner child escaped and put the ‘adultness’ away. The snow forced smiles, cuddles, love and warmth. It gave time, at such a busy time of year. Allowing a few breaths before Christmas.
Could this happiness be true I thought? When I should feel so busy, too busy to have this much fun. I remember the relief of scrolling through my socials and seeing the reality of conformation. Yes, it was true. It was a blessing that everyone was truly enjoying their family bubble, trapped together by the snow, a gift of time taken away from the hustle. Pictures of smiles, fun and games shone through my phone. Portraying the positive wave of love and celebration over the snow that everyone was enjoying.
Who knew a bit of snow was the answer to happiness for both children and adults alike!
The snows now gone. However, the memories remain, not just for me this time. But for my little ones to. Their first snow. How special it was.