Winter Break

It has not happened in a long time, but this year my birthday was snowed out. Or, snowed in, I should say, as both my husband and my son had to stay home from work and school respectively. I’m on winter break, but doubtless my school would have closed, too.

The first day was fun. My menfolk played video games and entertained themselves while I wrote my newest installment for the Sanguinarian serial. Then Tuesday rolled around and my son’s school was closed again. My husband went out to brave the ice in my car instead of his truck, leaving us stuck to our own devices.

Eventually I bundled both of us up and took Toby out to play. The ice was bad on the roads but we walked over to the school field, and the powder was perfect for snowballs. So, we played. Toby had trouble making snowballs but I showed him how. We only had one rule – no aiming for the face.

We bumbled along, my son drawing happy faces in the snow, occasionally throwing snowballs at each other’s coats. Toby made snow angels.

I reached down for a fresh snowball when Toby raised his arms above his head and said, “Throw it at me, Mom! I want to show you something.”

Having already pelted him with a few good-natured snowballs, I complied. As I threw, I watched Toby drop to the ground, presumably to have the snowball fly over him. Which, if I had been aiming for his head, would have worked. However, because I threw the ball at his chest, as he dropped, he met the arc of the flying snowball with a perfect thwak of snow meeting cheek. This appeared to occur in slow motion as I watched in horror, realizing what was going to happen but unable to take it back.

“I’d like to go home now,” was all he said as I tore off my gloves and scooped snow off his cheek.

It was the perfect storm of events – the throw had been a light lob, which would have exploded harmlessly against his coat, but I had no inkling of what he wanted to show me. There was no way for me to have prevented it and my son wanted to show me a surprise, he wouldn’t have told me what his plan was.

It all had that vivid, ‘this is too real to be true’ moment that sort of echoes how a lot of people feel at the end of this year.

I’m preparing for some upheaval as we go into the new year. I’m hoping it will be beneficial upheaval, but given the nature of this year, I’m going into it expecting chaos and see what happens. The snowball is coming, it’s just whether I ducked fast enough has yet to be determined.

 

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