We came close to lying to Aviva about why she wouldn’t be skiing at Cochran’s today. We almost told her it was closed, just to avoid tears or fuss or disappointment. But in the end, we decided not to lie to her. We told her the truth: Greg had to work all day yesterday, and we simply wanted to have some family time.
We have read a book called The Honest-to-Goodness Truth three times since Friday’s library trip. Aviva calls it “Honest-of-Goodness.” Yesterday she lied to me about having peed, then quickly came clean. I’ve also been interested in how intrigued she is by the variations of skin color in this book.
She took our offering of truth quite well. Then we packed up the leftover challah french toast, loaded sleds and snowshoes into the car, and drove over to Dorset Park, which we have been meaning to check out.
Sparkling snow, untouched. Rainbows in the sparkles. Blue sky. Bright sky. A father showing his little girls the milkweed pods in the field. A father falling backwards into powder, making angel wings with his daughters, then falling forwards, face first, sunglasses covered with snow. Laughter. A father and his daughters and a mother watching, moved, knowing how it could all be otherwise. Snowsuits, innocence; the March sun feeding our hungry faces. Later, hot chocolate, naps, enough books for a village of young readers.
Later still, while Greg whittled away at his email, Aviva, Pearl and I ate a blue-hair special (dinner at 5:00pm, same as last night – pesto pasta and broccoli, followed by Special K and bananas) and took a “girl bath” together.
I had promised them we’d go for a “night walk” before bed. By the time we came down after bath, I was tired and unenthused about suiting everyone back up. But hearing Pearl say, “Yay!” when Aviva told her we were going outside – along with Greg’s willingness to abandon his computer for a little more family time – helped me rally.
And so we found ourselves in the middle of the street a few houses up, hurling heaps of snow against the pavement, the four of us yelling under a cold, bright sky. I half-wondered what the neighbors must be thinking, and at the same time contemplated inviting them to join us.
“Someone’s gonna call the cops,” I joked, thinking of all the times we did just that when we lived downtown surrounded by (often drunk) college students. But no cops came. Instead, we formed one snowball after another, each to our own proportion.
Pearl carried her little ones right up close to me, saying “coat, coat,” (well, more like “tote, tote”) before tossing them at me, thigh-high, with all the strength her little arms could muster.
Aviva threw hers straight down and then stomped on them with her boot, yelling, “Hi-YA!”
Greg aimed for and hit the “Residents Only” sign dead-on as I marveled at the example we were setting for our kids.
And I… I finally got into it, especially when I realized that this was just the place to place my anger and aggression and my fury and my fierce protective, maternal instincts about recent developments I will not write about here. I lifted and smashed heavy chunks of snow and ice to the cold tar at my feet, letting out my own hoots and hollers.
This, I thought, is my meditation, a form of connecting with the breath. This, I thought, is what happens when you don’t have cable. This, I thought, is what happens when you have family. And this, I thought, is Honest-of-Goodness family time.