How I would have loved a seat at our neighbor’s house, a window seat that is, the perfect viewing opportunity for the unorthodox scene that unfolded in our side yard at approximately 5:00 that morning. The cast of characters was but a few: a mom and her daughter. The scene was set upon the early-morning sunrise, just light enough for any prying eyes to wonder what on earth was unfolding in their normally conservative neighborhood. The temperature was a frigid 26 degrees, accompanied by an unforgiving wind. The ground was perfectly covered by a thin layer of snow, hiding a thick layer of slippery leaves beneath.
Enter stage left a smiling, jubilant, feisty six-year old little lady. She is running full speed across the yard, with no particular destination in mind, just the simple goal of remaining out of reach of her mother. Ah, the mother. That would be me, the lady clad in pj bottoms, a pink bathrobe and her son’s red soccer flats, thrown on in haste as I realized my pleas to my daughter to come inside were futile. Once again I found myself in this all-too familiar place, lodged between the horror of what was unfolding in front of me and the hilarity of what was unfolding in front of me. In one breath I was yelling for her to stop, in the next I was breaking into laughter, unable to deny the humor in the situation.
My day had begun at 3:00 that morning. Our daughter had decided she was done sleeping and promptly launched into her torture routine of singing loudly, jumping on the bed, swatting at my face and whatever else she could think of to secure a first-class ticket downstairs to her favorite movie-viewing spot. On my way past the front door, I saw we had our first real snowfall of the season. I was thankful my sidekick didn’t notice. As excited as I was for her most ardent wish to have come true, I was in no mood to celebrate at three in the morning.
Fast forward a few hours and I granted my daughter permission to go upstairs to “snuggle with daddy,” as she requested. I listened to her little feet pitter-patter away and then stop short of the stairs. “Oh no,” I thought. “She saw.”
No sooner had the thought run through my mind when her screams of joy rang through the house. “Mama! Snow! Mama, look! Snow!” And then she was off, running upstairs to spread the news to her dad and brothers.
As my husband made his way downstairs with our little Mary, I could hear him trying to explain to her that it was too early and too cold to go out and enjoy the snow. Her excitement (and unbelievably stubborn personality) prevented any acceptance of reason, and before we knew it, she was headed down to the mud room to get herself ready for some winter fun. Over the next several minutes we heard significant grunting as she talked her way through the donning of her hat and boots and what we assumed was the rest of her winter gear. When we heard the garage door squeak open, we both jumped into action and met her downstairs. What we found before us was surprising and taught us both once again that this special extra chromosome that graces our daughter is nothing but a more unique and creative way to problem-solve.
This smart little lady knew she couldn’t get her footy-pj’ed feet into her boots, so the pj’s simply had to come off. She did a fabulous job of putting on her boots and hat on her own, despite the fact that they were accompanied by nothing more than a pair of underwear. It took some effort, but we finally convinced her to let us get her fully dressed before she headed outside. I offered what I thought was a fair compromise by telling her she could go out and enjoy the snow but had to stay on the back deck where I could watch her from the kitchen. It was, after all, dark out, 26 degrees and windy and shortly after 5:00 in the morning. One would think this offer would have been sufficient. It worked for a while and then, sure enough, she migrated slowly over to the top stair and was just about to head down when I opened the door and reminded her she was to stay on the deck. After a few more minutes of obedience, the same scene repeated again and, much to my surprise, she listened for a second time and chose to honor my request. It was the third time when things simply became too much for her. The draw to the rest of the snow just down the stairs of the deck was something she could no longer refuse. Off she went and off I reluctantly followed.
Fortunately for me, once I finally caught up to my speedster, she gave in fairly easily and allowed me to escort her inside. I got her wet clothes off, snuggled her up on the couch and went to pour a second cup of coffee in a desperate attempt to regroup and pull my scattered self together. The intensity of this child is a continual lesson in both patience and wonderment. The pure joy she finds in the simplest of pleasures is a perfect reminder that this is how life was always meant to be lived.
She is like a little flashing beacon, demanding we stop, look and absorb the beauty of what is around us. While the rest of the world is cursing the cold, dreading shoveling the snow and preparing their busy day, my little girl, in her own God-given way, is setting our world right as she cherishes the gift of our first snowfall. I have to believe this is the way God had always envisioned us living our lives; this is the wonder with which He hopes we approach the Advent season and the joy with which He prays we look upon the manger.
Warm coffee cup in hand, I walked back over to the door looking out onto the deck and thanked God for His gentle reminders of all we have to be grateful for, not the least of which are the angels among us.
Copyright 2016 Nicole Johnson