The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Mo Sno March 19, 2013

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Seriously? Yesterday the talk was all about the big storm headed our way. As I looked out over the barren, dry-mudded schoolyard from my new post as recess monitor, it just didn’t seem likely. Things were looking so hopeful, so almost spring. I scoured the perimeter of the fence looking for tiny pips of new growth to back up my case. Nothing yet. But still… I couldn’t bear to think of starting over. My son and his pals had even managed to chip away at the huge mound of surviving winter ice until it was a mere blip on the blacktop. Things were just now getting so close

I checked the live radar images last thing before getting into bed. It showed us to be already covered in a great swath of front – but outside there was still nothing. I held out a tiny bit of hope. But I remembered that one of the teachers at school hadn’t taken soup orders for the next day as he was that convinced we’d have a snow day. And apparently this guy always knows. Hey, I myself understand that we’re not out of the woods. I know we’re fair game for snow here til the end of April at least. But I went to bed hoping against it anyway. I really do love the beauty of snow, and I think it’s kinda silly when folks who live here find such entertainment in grousing endlessly about how much they hate it, but just the same…

Up in the middle of the night, all I had to do was glance outside to see the expanse of garage and coop roofs glowing white in the dark to know it had come. And this morning, after a quick 6 a.m. check online to confirm the homebound day for myself – I went easily back to sleep and didn’t wake for another two hours until I heard the engine of Mike’s plow truck shoveling its way down our driveway. I got up and donned my apron, tall boots and farm jacket in time to wave him a thank you before going out to open the coop and shovel some ground space out for the birds. It is pretty, I think to myself as I look around. May as well enjoy it.

I’ve suggested to Elihu that we make use of our hill for some sledding. Can it really be two years since we’ve gone down the hill? Seems a bit much, but it’s true; Elihu doesn’t really like being out in the brightness, and I sure can’t blame him. So this is a major detractor from enjoying outdoor play in the snow. In fact, my best memories of playing in the snow are of at night, long after sundown. It’s only then that Elihu can finally relax and just enjoy himself. But tonight is a school night, and his school play dress rehearsal is tomorrow, so there’ll be no late night snow play today. I’m going to find his oversized wraparound sunglasses (broken though they are) and insist on going out. We’ve got a great swath of lawn that is so much fun to sled down, only problem is the patch of pricker bushes at the bottom (another ‘problem’ is that mom must first ‘carve’ out the path – a grueling job that can take a good sweaty and panting half hour. !). We call the run our ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ hill. You gotta bail just when you get to the bottom. It’s kind of a pain in the butt, but the comic element is strong and (almost) makes up for the inconvenience.

As I write this, Elihu is uncharacteristically engrossed in his recently rediscovered (as in a half an hour ago) Nintendo DS. He’d been so nonplussed with it this past year he agreed to trade it with a friend for his erector set. Fareed intervened, and there was a tiny bit of drama as the mother of the friend (who’d already surrendered his aforementioned erector set but had not yet received the DS ) got a bit upset with me. As she’s a friend, it was upsetting to me too. I’d just wanted to hand over the DS and be done with it. But Fareed insisted we keep it. Now I’m kinda glad he did. It’s a cute and fun little game. My son is not the type to succumb to a video game addiction (no, he’s already addicted to flight) so I don’t worry at this. In fact, it makes me happy to see him happy. Cute little soundtrack too. (It’s still new to me, might not be so cute in a month.)

So the snow day begins. By now, on a usual day, breakfast would be long over, the dishes would be washed and put away, the eggs cleaned and sorted, and I’d be at my desk busily knocking items off the never-ending to-do list. For some reason snow days just throw me completely off and I’m hard pressed to get anything done at all. So I’m letting myself off the hook today and I’m just gonna go with it. All the way down the hill.

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