It’s cold out today. We got dumped on with snow, 10 or 15 centimetres, yesterday and overnight. It was little snow, so it accumulates, and it is light and fluffy.
Our house — most of our neighbourhood, actually — is situated at the top of a hill. A ridge, actually, if the name of That Girl’s school is any indication. Consequently, it is quite often quite windy, and on days where there’s a forecast of gusting winds, particularly so.
So on days like today, with blowing snow and wind chills, trust me when I tell you, it is pretty cold.
And, in the morning, I walk That Girl to school. I walk to pick her up after school most days, too, when she doesn’t have therapy or other appointments that require driving. Mornings are pretty cold, and when the wind is up, it’s mind-numbingly, skin-chillingly cold. We wear hats and scarves and neckwarmers and earmuffs on top of our snow gear to keep us warm, and we both carry a backpack (hers is school stuff; mine is her school-assigned laptop and cables and such.)
And we like to keep up a good pace, me because I like the exercise and Stinkerbelle because it gets her to school faster so she gets some playtime in with her friends. So with the pace and all the cold weather gear, by the time we are done walking, we are actually pretty warm and working up a decent sweat.
You can’t win. And quite often, it’s a miserable trudge.
There are some mornings, despite the cold, when I have some mom moments that make it all worthwhile. And I had one this morning.
We were crossing the crosswalk on the busy road that separates our little street in our neighbourhood from where the school is located, and heading up over the hump of snow that was left by the plows and onto the sidewalk. The snow was fresh and deep, but another parent had gone before us, pulling a sled with his two kids in it, and that had left a path. So I guided That Girl up over the snowbank ahead of me and told her to walk on the path in front of me.
And as we walked, I had that mom moment. I’ve mentioned it before. We weren’t talking; just walking along, single-file, on the way to school. But seeing my daughter walking along in front of me, all bundled up, her purposeful little walk, independently trudge-trudge-trudging along to school — it melts my heart.
Her sense of self, her little bit of independence, her happy determination and purpose, it makes my heart sing. Seeing this infant grow and become a little girl who loves school and knows (mostly) where she is going — suddenly so much time has passed me by, but so much of her future stretches out before her.
I am proud of her. I want to urge her on and see who she will be and what she will become.
I want to reach out and grab hold of her hand and never let her grow up and away from me.
I feel a rush of conflicting feelings watching that snowsuit-clad little figure, trudging along in front of me with her princess backpack with her favourite Pony dangling off one strap.
I keep them to myself. But when she glances back at me, I smile at her, and hope that she knows I am happy, and that I love her more than I ever knew it was possible to love, and that I will always be here with her, even if I sometimes begin to lag behind.